Drug use among adolescents is rising – Centre

The use of drugs among young people between the ages of 12 and 17 is on the rise, according to the Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ).

Currently, about 70 per cent of the inmates at the psychiatric hospitals in Ghana falls within this age bracket based on a research conducted by the CBHSQ.

The Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality is a United States Government Agency, which conducts data collection and research on “behavioural health statistics” relating to mental health, addiction, substance use, and related epidemiology.

The Narcotic Board Control Statistics also show that the youth from the junior and senior high schools and tertiary institutions make up the majority. 

Madam Rebekah Awuah, the Founder of Rebekah Awuah Foundation (RAF) Ghana, disclosed these in Accra on Friday at a forum on alcohol and drug abuse held for students of the Accra High School.

It was dubbed: “Alcohol and Drug Abuse – A National Ticking Bomb.”

The forum was meant to build and increase youth awareness on how to engage with their institutions to develop effective campus-based strategies to deal with the menace.

The Foundation is focused on providing education, skills development, health and well-being of young people to have free mind and free them from harm.

Madam Awuah mentioned the most commonly abused substances as alcohol and tobacco, which were held responsible for considerable mortality and morbidity, especially among adolescents and young adults.

She said the addiction could be attributed to curiosity, peer pressure, course load and stress among others. 

Ghana, like many other countries, was facing a growing substance abuse problem though there may be disparities in the scope of the problem, she noted.

It is reported that about 50,000 people in Ghana abuse substances and 70 per cent of these result in mental illness.

She appealed to stakeholders to embark on outreach programmes to erase the negative effects.

Mr Jackson Seyram Avotri, a Community Mental Health Nurse, said the body did not need any extra alcohol as sugar in meals taken were converted into the needed alcohol, adding an extra amount increased the brains tolerance for it, leading to addiction.

A 65-year-old George Odonkor, a former drug addict for 26 years, and an advocate, advised the youth to shun the practice before it lands their “dreams into the drains.”

Source: GNA

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