Cayman is facing a drug epidemic, so says Hope for Today Foundation CEO, Brent Hydes.
He believes the source of the problem is an overwhelming demand for illegal drugs.
In 2018 the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service seized 2,489lbs of ganja, a 150% increase compared to the year before. Despite the uptick in drug interdiction, illegal narcotics continue to find their way onto the streets and into Cayman’s communities.
Luisa McLaughlin of the Cayman Islands National Drug Council (NDC) says during the last 20 years, the NDC has commissioned an annual Cayman Islands Student Drug Use Survey. That survey has revealed a yearly increase in the number of students who experiment with illegal drugs.
Mrs. McLaughlin said, “Year after year we have found that the use of marijuana has been increasing.” She believes that increase is partly because the drug has become easier to access.
“The source [of illegal drugs], is their friends, and year after year we have found it easier to get these substances,” said Mrs. McLaughlin.
If caught smuggling illegal drugs into the Cayman Islands the penalties can often include lengthy prison sentences, but that does not deter everyone.
“They are being hired by the people who are financing the drugs, to take that chance to go abroad and to bring drugs back to our shores,” said Mr. Hydes.
Mrs. McLauglin said during the last four years the drug use survey has shown more teen girls are experimenting with ganja than their male counterparts, and it ultimately boils down to accessibility. Mr. Hydes said much like any other industry the illegal drug industry is fueled by supply and demand. So he believes as long as there is demand, people will find a way to supply it.