Three northern regions top in marijuana consumption

Smoking2Ghana has been cited as being the number one consumer of marijuana in the world, a United Nations’ Report last year has revealed.

Whilst the report cited Ghana as being the topmost consumer of marijuana, the three Northern Regions have also been cited as being the highest in terms of marijuana consumption in Ghana.

Quoting the report at a ceremony organized to mark this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Wa,  Mr.Issahaque Bakuri, Upper West Regional Director of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), said the three northern regions were the key players that propelled Ghana to that “dishonourable top”.

The day was on the theme: “Let us develop our lives, our communities, and our identities without drugs”.

Mr. Bakuri said it was worrying that the three regions which had been noted to be poverty endemic could be adding marijuana consumption to their predicament.

He said the issue of drugs had become a canker not only in the urban centres, but also in the rural communities.

Some youth had found solace in bringing hard drugs into the communities for local distribution thereby cultivating local consumers.

The NACOB Regional Director said many teenagers, young adults and middle-aged men in the society were not only using drugs, but were also trafficking them from down south to the rural communities for local consumption.

“This trend is having a dramatic, negative impact on society, bringing increases in violent crimes and armed highway robbery, kidnapping and raping of innocent girls including school pupils, fatal road accidents, eroding of values and degradation of society”, he noted.

Mr. Bakuri said the most challenging part of drug law enforcement in the region was in the area of prosecution of drug offenders.

He explained that NACOB had from last year, embarked on a massive sensitization campaign in the region, visiting schools, communities, lorry stations and market places among others, to educate people on the dangers associated with drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking of which 736,896 people benefited.

The NACOB Regiional Director called for a sectoral approach to fight drug menace in the region, which he said, needed effective collaboration of stakeholders, such as the district assemblies, traditional authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations,  in educating the people, especially the youth,  on the harmful effects and inherent dangers of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, said government was aware that illicit drug trade had resulted in increased violence, especially in the urban areas, and sometimes questioning of the legitimacy of the state due to the corruption caused by the trade.

In a speech read on his behalf, he appealed to the people not to stigmatize drug addicts, but rather see them as people who needed help,  and offer them healthcare assistance to regain their identities back into the society.

Source: GNA

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