Secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists of T&T (APTT), Dr Varma Deyalsingh is calling for new legislation that will make it mandatory for people to be rehabilitated from drugs.
This comes on the heels of the murders of 83-year-old Polly Bahadoor and pregnant mother of three, Roxanne Mack who were both allegedly murdered by teenagers over the weekend.
Police believe both teenagers may have been under some sort of drug influence.
Speaking with the Guardian Media on Tuesday, Deyalsingh said the legislation as it stands needs to move out of the voluntary aspect.
“If there could be changes in the legislation in such a way that if you catch somebody with a drug you don’t jail them but we need something like a rehab centre where the law can mandate. So you’re locked away in this centre, this facility where you can now go in and there’s no access to drugs but then you can now be trained in yoga, exercises, to do a skill and continuing your education, Deyalsingh said.
“Years ago I had suggested just like there was a centre Down-D-Islands, a hospital for patients who had leprosy, even a facility needs to be built because you have a societal strain. If somehow you catch those individuals with cocaine or whatever, you put them in a facility that the courts will mandate keep them for a year you rehabilitate them we get the drugs out of their system but we need special legislation for this because you would be removing the voluntary aspect so you will be giving a societal ease and drying up the market, “ he added.
Deyalsingh said he is sure that some parents would be happy if facilities like this are created to keep their children, “because they are helpless, they don’t know what to do and going to St Ann’s and coming back would be a revolving door. So they would be thankful knowing that if they are there their children are safe.”
Deyalsingh also urged parents to purchase Urine Test Home Kits and carry out tests on their children.
He also advised that they be on the alert for any paraphernalia and signs of drug use example small pieces of foil, small zip lock bags, marijuana stems/seeds, lighters, straws, needles etc, “also observe their behaviour and attitude patterns...see if they are sleeping all the time, eating more than usual, over energetic, aggressive or even quieter or calmer than usual.”
President of the International Women’s Resources Network (IWRN) Adriana Sandrine Rattan also appealed to parents, caregivers, neighbours and communities to pay more attention to behavioural patterns displayed by children particularly adolescents and teenagers, and also seek assistance if necessary.
“The organisation notes that such incidents do not happen overnight, and instead represent a culmination of strange behaviours and/or unmet demands that have been in existence for a lengthy period of time,” Rattan said.
“By nature adolescents and teenagers would often display mood swings, engage in unusual conversations and send specific types of messages denoting that all is not well within and would often use those tactics to attract attention which if not given, leads them into a state of depression and spells of dark emotions. Far too often the problems being experienced by youngsters are known to families who prefer to maintain secrecy, and would only make the disclosures when fatality occurs, “ she added.
The IWRN is urging families to spend deeper and engaging moments with their children so as to unearth critical issues that may be lingering on their minds, as ignoring their plea for attention and support can result in dangerous outcomes.