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Sunday 26 January 2020
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Psychiatrist: Facilities needed for young marijuana psychosis

Dr Varma Deyalsingh
Dr Varma Deyalsingh

SECRETARY of the Association of Psychiatrists Dr Varma Deyalsingh has said with the decriminalisation of marijuana in small amounts, facilities are needed to treat young people for drug-induced psychosis.

He was speaking with the media on Monday after a media conference on protecting children from marijuana use, hosted by the Children's Authority, at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

He said if someone's family has a history of schizophrenia or psychotic illness and they use marijuana, then they are prone to have psychotic episodes.

"So drug-induced psychosis is something we are seeing, and it is already a strain on our health system when people come into the establishment."

Deyalsingh said people are seen at St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital with drug-induced psychosis. The staff try to rehabilitate them, get the drugs out of their system and return them to society.

"But if they don't want to step up, this is our challenge."

He said when young people come into St Ann's after using marijuana and "tripping," sometimes it is not because of a genetic link but because they are adding things to the marijuana (black cigarette).

He stressed places have to be established where children can go for marijuana psychosis treatment that are not adult hospitals.

"If we now going to get a cadre of individuals with psychosis would it not be astrain on our health system?"

He said the idea of decriminalisation was to ease up the judicial system which had about 8,000 people languishing in prisons.

"But by giving an ease to one system, the legal system, you may now put a strain on the health system, unless we are prepared to put things in place, put buildings in place, put safe areas for children to go to."

Deyalsingh reported most of the cases of young people with psychosis were teenagers from 16-18.

"So we see that already. So we have to know if more will be using, we have to be prepared. Put things in place, put buildings in place, and have people trained."

Psychosis is characterised by delusions or hallucinations.

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