The Eastern Regional Head of Education of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), Worlanyo Wazila, has warned the alarming rate of drug addiction by the youth in the Eastern Region has irreparable consequence.
He noted that causes of the drug addiction includes mental health and peer influence among youth in the Eastern Region.
He was speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Koforidua, the regional capital.
“We are still putting data together to put on record but I can tell you that it is alarming and worrying,” Mr Wazila said.
“The youth are now abusing drugs and using illegal drugs in full glare without fear due to peer influence.”
He added: “We may decide not to get worried today but you have no idea the driver whose car you have boarded is an addict and can make mistakes on the road resulting in an accident. There are many more examples of the implications. We cannot watch on.”
The stakeholders meeting was organised by BEST NACEM Foundation in partnership with Legal Aid Commission and the Attorney General Department.
Representatives from the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Prison Service, traditional authorities among others participated in the training and dialogue.
The training and dialogue was on the theme: ‘The Use of Illicit Drug and Its Punishment: The Role of Stakeholders in Sensitizing the Youth’.
Stakeholders are expected to find lasting solutions to reducing the addiction rate in their various sectors of engagement.
Chief Executive Officer of BEST NACEM Foundation Stephen Nana Afful explained their focus is to reduce decongestion in the prisons and, as well, reduce intake of drug abuse by the youth.
Government legalized the use of cannabis for health and industrial purposes after the passing into law of the Commission Bill, 2019.
The law now makes the country’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) a Commission with improved powers to supervise the industrial use of some narcotic substances.
Health experts have strongly advocated for addicts of narcotic drugs to be properly rehabilitated and not treated as criminals.
The new law classifies drug abuse a public health issue.