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Survey suggests decrease in drug use

Use of both legal and illegal substances has marginally decreased among Bermuda's residents over the past four years, according to the results of a survey revealed in the Senate today.

Minister for National Security, Senator Jeff Baron, shared some of the highlights of the study in a Ministerial Statement.

The survey, conducted through the Department for National Drug Control, completed the fifth administration of the National Household Survey on Drug Consumption and Health among Bermuda's adult residents, and involved a random sample of 1,270 adult residents over the age of 16.

It found that, of all the illicit drugs on the market, marijuana has remained the most popular drug being offered to buy or use in Bermuda and is still the easiest drug to obtain.

The survey results also showed that females had a greater tendency to use legal substances including alcohol, while males were more likely to engage in illegal drugs such as marijuana.

Mr Baron said he was pleased to report that the age of first use of the three most-widely used substances (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana) has increased between 2013 and 2017 with experimentation starting at an older age. The average age of the first use of any drug was as early as 16.3 years (for cigarette use by males) but ranges from 16.9 years (overall for cigarettes) to 30.1 years (for heroin) for the overall population; with most persons starting to use drugs more than a year ago.

Mr Baron said: “In the science of substance abuse prevention, the intent is for the age of first use or experimentation of substances to increase as an indication of delayed drug use. This is, therefore, a good thing for Bermuda.

“We must continue to support our drug prevention efforts within our schools and the community at large as they appear to be working.”

Additionally, 69.5 per cent of respondents indicated being in favour of laws preventing the serving of alcohol to minors in their homes or on their premises.

Mr Baron added: “Given that approximately 70 per cent of the respondents are in favour of laws preventing persons from serving alcohol to minors in their homes or on their premises, the time to act is now. The environment in which we live must change if we are to protect the public's safety.”

Quizzed by Opposition and independent senators on what action will be taken by the government now the five-year National Drug Plan had run its course, Mr Baron indicated that he would update the Upper House in due course.

The survey also included a question on the use of prescription cannabinoids, to monitor the use of such substances following the legislative amendment and policy that made their use legal in Bermuda. Just 0.3 per cent reported ever having used prescription cannabinoids such as Sativex, Marinol, and Cesamet.

Senator Jeff Baron, national security minister (File photograph)

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Published May 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm (Updated May 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm)

Survey suggests decrease in drug use

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