The Executive Director of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, has called for the need to reform drug addicts specifically smokers rather than jailing them when arrested.
According to him, apprehending such smokers who are found holding on to just a “roll” of cigarette or marijuana in public and private places by security forces is not the way to go for a country which is seeking to expedite its growth and development.
The development, he said, is placing a huge strain on state resources since such persons would be required to receive support to maintain their upkeep and wellbeing while being kept under lock and key.
Furthermore, he indicated that throwing such persons into cells rather worsens the situation since such personalities cultivate deviant practices such as armed robbery and murder whilst in jail. He attributed the rise in crime and other abnormal practices in the country to this development.
The NACOB boss was speaking at a function organized to launch the 2015 annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (NICB) in Accra today. The function, which was attended by security forces and stakeholders in the Narcotic industry, gave participants the platform to brainstorm on the intricacies of drug abuse and trafficking and finding appropriate remedies to curb the practices.
Speaking more on the intricacies of the issue, Mr Sarpong questioned why the prominent personalities who import such hard drugs into the country are left to walk about freely whilst the “victims” of their acts are rather held liable.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Interior, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, revealed that Africa still remained a key transit point for drug trafficking, a development he said is causing an increase in drug abuse on the continent.
He expressed worry over the prevention and treatment of drug abuse in Africa although it is part of the main provisions of the international drug control conventions, adding that “in Africa only an estimated 1 out of 18 people suffering from drug use disorders or drug dependence receives treatment each year.”
He, therefore, called for a collaborative effort between the agencies aligned to fighting illicit manufacture and trafficking of narcotic drugs and the citizenry, to help nip the menace in the bud.
By Emmanuel Tawiah Forson|Onua Fm|Ghana