February 27th: 12 hours before takeoff
As the countdown of hours until Grenada begins, it’s easy to think about the beaches, tropical fruits and drinks but the real reason we are going to Grenada is to use some of the skills we have learned at U of M to help improve the alcohol policy. There are some significant public health problems on the island of Grenada, including, sickle cell anemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and increased alcohol and drug use, especially among adolescents. While we are there, we will help draft the alcohol policy for the country of Grenada, which seems to be quite the task! Can we really draft an alcohol policy for a country in a week?
While it seems to be a massive task, that will require input from numerous officials and community members, there has been a new push to make changes in the policy. At the annual Pan American Health Organization meeting in June 2013 there was an emphasis on updating alcohol policies to address the increasing trend of alcohol use. There seems to be a growing concern regarding alcohol and drug use among adolescents in Grenada. While I was researching the policy that already exists, I stumbled upon a couple of news articles that were published in January 2014 about alcohol use among adolescents in Grenada. The Grenadian Drug Control Secretariat has issued a warning regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages at school functions, including sporting events. This is an important step to reduce alcohol consumption among teens. Along with these measures and other changes to the alcohol policy, we can make a difference in the use of alcohol among adolescents.
Hopefully, our interactions with local community members and experiences around the country will help us draft a policy that is feasible and beneficial for the Grenadian population. I am excited for the opportunity to use some of the skills I have learned in school and learn more about developing an alcohol policy.