The Observer News – Second Quarter Number 2 Year 3 OPERATION SAFE SUMMER 2005 Dave Alexander DRUG AVOIDANCE OFFICER Grenada One of the featured programmes implemented by the Drug Control Secretariat of Grenada every year is, “Operation Safe Summer”. Operation Safe Summer is a drug and violence resistance education and safety programme. The programme provides primary and secondary school students with appropriate knowledge and social skills to resist drugs and violence, and to promote their personal safety, primarily during the summer vacation. The programme is conducted during the period 1 June to 31 August annually. This period of year is a critical one in our society. Over 25,000 primary, secondary and tertiary students are on vacation, with a significant number of them with little or no structured supervision. Further, three of Grenada’s largest public festivals are held over a two-week period during the summer. This is a time when many students experiment in and practice high-risk behaviors (drug use, unprotected sex etc). Some students sustain physical injuries with can result in loss of limb or life! Given the above scenario, the Drug Control Secretariat, in collaboration with other social partners, commenced Operation Safe Summer in 1998. The programme consists of lectures, public discussions, radio and television programmes, and training workshops, on various aspects of high-risk behaviors. Some of the issues dealt with in Operation Safe Summer include: road safety, water safety, fire hazards, violence prevention, and personal safety. In 2003, an evaluation of Operation Safe Summer was conducted. The findings of the evaluation exercise revealed that approximately seventy (70) percent of the trainees had conducted drug prevention programmes in their schools, while sixty-two (62) percent had conducted similar programmes in the communities in which they reside. It was observed that several of these programmes were conducted among the senior students of the schools, due in part to the fact that the trainees were themselves senior students. The research also found that the programme had adequately prepared most of the trainees to conduct drug prevention exercises in their schools and communities. However, some trainees encountered problems in planning and executing these activities. The Observer News – Second Quarter Number 2 Year 3 In 2005, the Drug Control Secretariat will conduct Operation Safe Summer for the eight consecutive year. As part of Operation Safe Summer 2005, the Secretariat will conduct three training exercises: two training programmes for pre-school teachers, and one for senior students. This training would focus on providing knowledge and skills to pre-school teachers so that they can be better equipped to pass on drug prevention messages to pre-school children. The focus on the prorgamme for senior students would be design and delivery of drug prevention messages. This year’s training sessions would be coordinated by the Drug Control Secretariat, and facilitated by two volunteers from the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for Caribbean Action Inc., (FAVA/CA). FAVA/CA has worked with Grenada in several areas, including drug demand reduction, and has provided technical and financial support for Operation Safe Summer from 2000 to 2005. Operation Safe Summer 2005 would be funded by the Government of Grenada, and the European Union, under the Drug Demand Reduction Project, and FAVA/CA.