Drug usage in schools…says students caught reluctant to give up drug dealersNine months ago the alarming problem of increased drug usage in schools was a major concern for parents, teachers and other stakeholders, there has been a reduction in reports of incidents of this sort.Police Narcotics Branch Head, Senior Superintendent Kurleigh SimonThis is according to Head of the Police Narcotics Branch, Senior Superintendent Kurleigh Simon, who, during a recent interview with Guyana Times, said that for the past three months there has been a decrease in reports by schools about students engaged in using illicit substances.“They (reports) are down, or there is a drop. We are not getting (many) reports from the schools. Sometimes it is the Education Ministry that will call us, or sometimes the head teachers call us in. So, for the second quarter, as it stands right now, there has been a reduction,” Simon explained.He said that in cases where the schools directly make contact with the Police for assistance or involvement in addressing the use of illegal drugs among their students and/or on their premises, there is a system that has to be followed; since, ideally, the Education Ministry is the agency responsible for notifying the law enforcement agencies in this regard.“This system (direct contact with the Police) is that the teacher has got to be present, (as well as) the parent and the student. Then we look at if (the situation) is one that warrants counselling and so forth…we cannot prosecute any child anymore, so definitely straight counselling. We try to work them to see if they will give up, if an adult is involved, if they will give up the source,” Simon said.ReluctanceSimon said investigators are not always successful in getting the students to divulge relevant information so that they can pursue and eventually nab the guilty adults involved, but some students are helpful when questioned.“Some are reluctant in giving up the names of the persons, but there are some who do cooperate. Some parents of the children who are caught or involved tend to clog up, and there are some who say to their children that they should tell the truth. So, basically, it is some amount of reluctance and some amount of cooperation, and I would say it is about 50/50 from all the cases we have had so far to deal with,” he added.In September 2018, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) made it public that the use and sale of the drug ecstasy had been discovered in five schools. Known as a recreational drug, ecstasy’s harmful side effects include addiction and altered sensations.At that time, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, speaking on the issue, was quoted as saying that law enforcement agencies were “losing the battle” now that drugs have ended up in schools.