Where are we? What are we doing?

When you think “Grenada,” you may think of Spain and the Alhambra:


Alhambra, Granada (www.trekexchange.com)

But actually, we are in the “Spice Isle” in the Caribbean:


Google Maps

Grenada boasts rainforest, lowlands, and a beautiful coast, with temperatures consistently around 75-85 degrees. It is home to 108,000 people of varying descent, including African, East-Indian, and European. Grenada gained its independence from Britain in 1974 and is now within the British Commonwealth. For this reason, the government is set up in the Westminster-style: Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Grenada and the Prime Minister is head of government [1]. The Prime Minister also heads government ministries, including the Ministry of Education. Within the Ministry of Education lies the Drug Control Secretariat, with whom my group will be working during our time in Grenada.

The Drug Control Secretariat “serves to increase the operational efficiency of the NCODC [National Council on Drug Control] and the effectiveness of the national drug control programme” [2]. One current issue that the ministry is focusing its attention on is alcohol use.

In June 2013, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) met with representatives from 13 Caribbean countries, including Grenada, to address the prevalence of alcohol use, its association with adverse health outcomes, and developing effective national policies to tackle the issue.

Our group will be working with the Drug Control Secretariat to assist in the development of the national alcohol policy. Being personally interested in substance abuse research as a career avenue, this is a tremendous opportunity. I’m looking forward to learning more about alcohol use in this population, how national drug policies are developed, who is involved in the process, and what cultural factors are taken into account. I’ve never been involved in policy work, and I have a lot to learn.

Of course, I’m also excited about getting out of the never-ending Michigan winter and into some flip flops!

References:
1. The Official Website of the Government of Grenada, www.gov.gd.
2. National Council on Drug Control [NCODC] Brochure

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