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Ghana drug abuse cases up 61%

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The Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) has indicated that cases of the abuse of drugs such as cocaine, heroine, cannabis and alcohol has increased in the country.

Available statistics from the Accra and Pantang Psychiatric hospitals have shown that the number of youth within the age group 15-­20 involved in the abuse of drugs kept increasing from 2003 to 2010.

It said there were 145 cases in 2003 com­pared to 767 cases in 2010, an average percentage increase of 61 per cent annually.

The acting Executive Secretary of the Nar­cotics Control Beard (NACOB) made this known in Accra when he delivered a paper on the Drug Abuse Situation and Drug Demand Reduction Activities in Ghana at the first-ever regional meeting of experts on Drug Demand Reduction in West Africa.

The meeting was organised by the Eco­nomic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and sought to bring together experts to share information about the drug menace in West Africa.

He said there was also an increase in the number of young girls getting involved with drugs for economic reasons for pushers and prostitution, adding that for instance available statistics showed that in 2003, 58 young ladies were involved in abuse of drugs but the num­ber went up to 130 in 2010.

Mr Sarpong said there was also an increase in the geographical coverage of use of all drugs in the country, adding that in the past only nicotine, alcohol and cannabis had national coverage usage.

The Executive Secretary said, however, that narcotics like cocaine, heroine, their vari­ous combinations and derivatives that were available and only used in the cities of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Sekondi were now available and being consumed in all the districts of Ghana.

He mentioned that there was sophistication of the distribution or retailing channels of drugs in Ghana and said for example that in certain areas of Accra very old ladies and some physically challenged persons were currently selling the drugs.

He also mentioned that some health work­ers had also been implicated in the smuggling of these drugs into the psychiatric institutions and other drug treatment centres for sale to clients undergoing treatment.

Mr Sarpong mentioned detoxification plus treatment, counselling, family therapy and the provision of protective environment for recov­ering addicts as some of the services available in Ghana for the management of drug abuse and addiction.

He noted that in the recent past NACOB had embarked on a lot of activities and pro­jects to place demand reduction on the same scale as supply reduction and had started an inter-agency meetings aimed at coming up with Standard National Drug Rehabilitation Centres with the best practices, in treatment, counselling and rehabilitation.

Source: Daily Graphic

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