PRIDE hopes to expand its presence in schools after 3.4 percent of students confessed to having an alcoholic drink in the past 30 days.
The anti-drug charity labelled that statistic, and another that revealed nearly four percent of pupils had used inhalents in the same period, as “shocking”.
Said Samantha Smith, programme director for PRIDE: “To have any percentage is a travesty. We want to see zero percentage of kids using.
“Right now there are 3.7 percent using inhalants and 3.4 percent currently using alcohol [in the last 30 days]. That’s still too much for us.”
Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley released the results of the survey last week.
It questioned 1,106 students between eight and 12 years old, about drugs and alcohol.
The majority of students said that they had never tried either; around 25 percent said they had tried alcohol and 15 percent had tried inhalants.
Ms Smith said the more important statistics in the survey indicated the number of children who had used drugs or alcohol in the last month.
“That is where most of our work goes in to cut down that number and make sure children, even though they have experimented, they don’t continue on in that vein,” she said. “I do think we are doing what we can with what we have to reduce those numbers.
“We are doing that in our schools by implementing our life skills training programme, where they are learning about self-esteem, they are learning about communications, they are learning about decision making and being assertive. They are learning about social skills and coping skills, dealing with anger and dealing with stress.
“We would love to be able to increase our capacity to get more kids involved in more schools.”
PRIDE is working in nine public schools at the moment and has worked with students in Whitney Institute, Saltus, Bermuda High School, Somersfield Academy and the Berkeley Institute.
Executive director Judith Burgess said that children tend to imitate their parents and other adults, for better or worse.
“Within our society it is almost a norm to drink alcohol, to talk about marijuana. They see what the adults do and they emulate it,” she said. “What we really need are parents willing to be vigilant and talk with their children. Within every household, it should be something that is discussed.”
There are programmes for students and also courses for parents to help them discuss the subject of drugs and alcohol with their children, she said.
“Children are going to experiment, but we can turn those figures around by working together.”
Added Ms Smith: “We are in a community that is afraid to reach out at times. We are in a quiet community that wants to hold things close to their chests.
“We want to encourage parents if you do not know what you need to help your children, do not be afraid to reach out to services like PRIDE, like the Family Centre. There are a number of services out there that can help.
“We are here to help, and we all want to help the children.”