The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of La Dade-Kotopon (LaDMA), Solomon Kotey Nikoi, has cautioned residents, that the use of illicit drugs, has serious health and psychological problems, among the youth.
He noted that drug abuse was a big challenge, affecting the youth and society in general, and there was the urgent need to tackle the problem.
Mr Nikoi was speaking at a consultative meeting with the residents and other stakeholders, to find solution to the drug menace among the youth in the municipality, at La, in Accra.
He said the discussion was to solicit pragmatic strategies for a broader stakeholder's discussion towards the implementation of plans, to curb drug abuse in the area.
He said "the drug menace has become a big issue undermining the existence of society and affecting the lives of countless individuals not only in La, but families globally."
Mr Nikoi said the use of illicit drugs such as Indian hemp, cocaine, Indian hemp and tramadol has resulted in health and psychological problems among young people.
He advised parents to monitor the movement of their children since peer pressure, curiosity, stress, lack of parental care partly contributed to the use of illicit drugs by the youth.
Mr Nikoi said that "educating the youth about the risks and consequences of drug abuse should be extended beyond schools to homes, community centers and online platforms.
The MCE called for stricter enforcement of laws to curb the production, distribution and sale of illegal drugs, adding "but, we must recognise the importance of striking a balance between punitive measures and rehabilitative efforts."
He said drug addiction should be treated as a health issue rather than criminal offence.
Mr Kamaldeen Awudu, Head, Education and Prevention at the Narcotics Control Commission, lamented that data at his outfit indicated that drug use globally was on the increase in 2021 and 70 per cent of users receiving treatment are below the age of 35.
Mr Awudu said a baseline survey in 2019 in schools in Ghana showed that 36.4 per cent of students in junior and senior high schools had experimented different drug substances.
According to him, the survey showed 59.9 per cent of boys from the basic and senior cycle schools used cigarette whiles 54.1 per cent use cannabis and 36 per cent used alcohol while about 34.3 per cent of girls used shisha and 32.1 per cent used alcohol.