Mr. Felix Sarfo, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Commander of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), has called for more intensified and decisive multi-stakeholder approach to help win the fight against drug abuse and trafficking, as it continued to be a major challenge in the country.
The NACOB commander was addressing a durbar to climax a week-long drug sensitization programme held as part of the Regional celebration of the 2016 International Day against Illicit Drug Use and trafficking at Hwidiem in the Asunafo South District.
He observed that stakeholders, despite all efforts, were not winning the battle to reduce the incidence especially among the youth, since the increased use of cannabis (weed) and tramadol- an opium pain killer, had become a real nightmare.
“The daily emergence of new narcotic drugs and its high illicit patronage by the youth, was leaving a devastating social impact on the nation and families as they continued to lose loved ones as a result.”, he added
The annual event, organised by NACOB and sponsored by Basic Needs, a Tamale-based non-governmental organisation that is into mental health and epileptic control was on the theme “Listen First: Drug Prevention among the Youth and Children”.
It was attended by Senior High School (SHS) students, teachers, parents, security personnel and heads of departments.
Mr. Sarfo said the NACOB had taken steps to reduce the surging incidence in the Region, by forming drug awareness clubs in both basic and SHSs in some Districts and Municipalities and announced plans to launch two separate action plans – “operation drug free zones” and “operation get ready to run”, to give impetus to their efforts.
The NACOB Boss appealed to parents and guardians to consciously monitor the lifestyles of their children and wards and not leave them to be influenced by their peers saying this would help safeguard their health and future livelihoods.
Alluding to a study conducted in two SHSs in the Region by his outfit, he said drug abuse was real as the study revealed that about 66 per cent of the students claimed they heard about the various illicit drugs from friends.
“Even more startling was the finding from the research that most children at the age of 10 had either attempted or been sent to buy drugs”.
Other activities of the celebration included sensitization lectures on drugs, photo exhibition on impact of drug abuse and trafficking, interaction with students and provision of counseling on drug related issues.