Establishment of the NCDA

The National Council on Drug abuse was established in October 1983, by the then Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, and assigned to the portfolio of the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy with Dr. Ronald Irvine as Chairman of the Council. In 1984, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy was disbanded, and the responsibility for the National Council on Drug Abuse was transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister. In 1994, the Ministry of Health assumed responsibility for the Council.

Chairmen of the NCDAFromTo
Dr. Ronald Irving19831984
Sen. The Hon. Oswald Harding19841989
Dr. Winston Davidson19891995
Dr. Charles Thesiger19952004
Professor Fredrick Hickling20042006
Dr. Earl Wright20082011
Dr. Wendel Abel20122015

Role of the NCDA

When the NCDA was established in 1983, it was charged with the responsibility of educating the general public about the dangers of drug use, and of preventing the indiscriminate use of drugs. Since then however, the Council has had to review its role, and this has led to an expansion of its terms of reference to include an examination of the legal, medical and security issues surrounding drug abuse, as well as research.

 The NCDA has formulated projects to address all the various key elements and established a comprehensive national policy on drug abuse prevention policy for demand and supply reduction.

 Functions of the NCDA:

  • Review and monitor the conditions in Jamaica with respect to drugs which are being or which appear likely to be misused with consequent harmful effects and to constitute a social problem 
  • Undertake, subject to the approval of the Minister, the measures to be taken for preventing the misuse of drugs or for dealing with any social problems connected with the misuse of such drugs
  • Consider matters concerning drug use and abuse and to advise thereon.
  • The NCDA may make recommendations on measures that in its opinion ought to be taken in order to:
    • Research circomstances surrounding the abuse
    • Alleviate conditions that lead to demand for addictive drugs through the formulation and implementation of prevention programmes
    • Enable persons affected by the misuse of drugs to obtain proper advice
    • Securing the provision for proper facilities and services for the treatment, rehabilitation and after-care of such persons
    • Promote cooperation between professional and community services that in the opinion of the Council, may assist in dealing with social problems underlying the abuse of drugs
    • Educate the public (in particular minors) concerning the dangers of misusing or abusing drugs
    • Promote research into, or, otherwise obtaining information concerning, any matter which in the opinion of the Council is relevant in preventing the misuse or abuse of drugs or dealing with any connected social problem
    • Consider such matters which are incidental to the proper control of the use of drugs
    • Act, perform, and enter into any transactions necessary or incidental to the proper performance of its functions

Structure of the NCDA

The Operational Matrix for the Council is made up of the Human Resources Committee of Cabinet, the members of the National Council on Drug Abuse, the members of the Board, the Working Committees of the Board, the Drug Abuse Secretariat ( with its international linkages) , Community Drug Awareness Committees, Parish Drug Awareness Committees and Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers.


Structure of the Board of the NCDA Board Members

To fulfill its mission, the NCDA garners the combined support of all sectors of the society. The Council’s membership is broad-based, comprising fifty-eight (58) organizations. The Board provides the link for the medical and legal professions; educational and religious bodies; service clubs; the security forces; major political parties; associated and related government ministries and agencies and the media.

Board of Directors included representatives from the following agencies/organizations:

  1. Permanent Secretary  Ministry of Health;  
  2. Ministry of Finance Financial Secretary’s Nominee;
  3. Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary’s Nominee;
  4. Ministry of Youth & Community Development
  5. Permanent Secretary’s Nominee;
  6. Jamaican Council of Churches;
  7. Medical Association of Jamaica;
  8. Jamaica Bar Association;
  9. Joint Trade Union Research Development Council;
  10. Prime Minister’s Nominee;
  11. Leader of the Opposition’s Nominee
  12. Private Sector Organization of Jamaica
  13. Three members appointed by the Minister suitably qualified for such appointment;
  14. Two members appointed by the Minister from the organizations listed in the schedule