Views & Reviews Personal view

A few lessons about drugs and gun crime

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 22 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1097
  1. Ademola Odunfa, pathologist, British Virgin Islands

    I arrived in Jamaica in April 1990 after landing a job at the Ministry of National Security in Kingston. I was there to boost the ministry's pathology staff because of the country's high murder rate. Jamaica has been variously described as the most violent or dangerous place on earth, although it also has one of the highest numbers of churches per square mile.

    With our young family of five my wife and I were received warmly by staff. Most of my medical training had taken place in Nigeria, but we quickly settled into our new surroundings, and the work began in earnest.

    Kingston is a highly volatile city of about one million inhabitants. The notorious downtown area is a place you don't visit after 6 pm unless you are armed, ready to battle for your life, or both. Murder here was seen as just one of those things, and nobody really batted an eyelid. The only thing the relatives asked you after a …

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