Eleuthera students get sick after eating marijuana-laced cookies shipped from NP
Former health minister: Discussion on decriminalization of marijuana does not apply to minors
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Following another incident of students ingesting marijuana edibles on Thursday, education officials said they are closely monitoring what may be a new trend.
Police said several students on Eleuthera fell sick on Thursday after reportedly eating “marijuana-laced cookies”.
Reports indicated that the edibles were shipped from New Providence via a mailboat to Rock Sound.
Although the students attended Preston Albury High School, the matter did not occur on the school’s premises.
Education Director Marcellus Taylor told Eyewitness News that while the latest matter did not occur on a school campus, education officials have taken steps to address the serious concern surrounding the use of drugs with students.
“The only concern we have is the fact that young people are engaging in unhealthy practices and we have a curriculum that teaches Health and Family Life and Christian education, like Religious Studies, to try to cause people to have discipline and to know what is right and wrong.”
Taylor insisted that the parents and relatives of students must take responsibility.
Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) Officer in Charge Chief Superintendent Roberto Goodman said that while police have seen the trend across the country, possession and consumption of the drug is still illegal.
“We have this edible marijuana now throughout the various communities. We’ve seen it in Grand Bahama; we’ve seen it here in New Providence; we’ve seen it now in Eleuthera. We just want to sensitize parents, guardians, schools and these civic groups that persons who continue to consume this marijuana or sell marijuana, it is illegal.”
Last month, seven students from S C McPherson Junior High School were taken to the hospital after consuming marijuana edibles brought to school by another student.
A 14-year-old student was arrested and charged in connection with the issue.
Taylor noted that the impacted students were provided with drug counseling to sensitize them to the issue.
He added that teachers will also undergo similar training and counseling in order to be equipped to respond to the matter.
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said the latest events are not isolated incidents, indicating that the Ministry of Education has not been forthcoming with the “very serious and troubling matters”.
Wilson said a similar incident occurred recently at North Long Island High School.
“It seems as though a trend is starting and in this early stages, I urge the Ministry of Education to address this matter forthwith,” she said.
“I also impress upon parents to get more involved in the day-to-day activities of your children. Talk to your children about drugs and alcohol and their possible negative impact.
“I am supporting the police in their endeavors to investigate these matters fully and bring the culprits to account so that they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We must protect our children at all cost.”
Wilson urged teachers to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior.
“The Bahamas Union of Teachers is prepared to work with the Ministry of Education, the police and school security and other stakeholders to devise plans on how to combat this serious issue.”
Police have advised that they are investigating new trends of edible marijuana being used and sold in The Bahamas.
The trends also emerge as the government determines its position on the decriminalization of marijuana in the country.
However, former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the fact that the illegal substance has made it into the hands of minors speaks to a “threat and a risk”.
“At many different levels, this is a problem,” he said.
“We need to focus on the fact that we are talking about school students who should not be even having any access to any type of drugs and the conversation about marijuana doesn’t even start.
“This is a problem that is unacceptable and I’m hoping once the investigations are done and whoever is responsible is brought before the courts and dealt with appropriately.”
Sands added that while it is not a new problem, it is a perennial problem that needs to be addressed through proper education.
“Let’s not inflate the discussion of discrimination and legalization of marijuana; when we talk about minors, it doesn’t arise”.