38 drug dealers nabbed

38 persons were arrested last year at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra in connection with illicit drug related

offences, the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) has revealed.

Benjamin Dadzie, Head of NCB Ashanti Brong-Ahafo Zonal Office said out of the number, 22 were arrested for possession of cocaine, eight for heroin, six for cannabis and the remaining two for other illicit drugs.

Speaking at a community sensitization forum on the current state and use of hard drugs in Ghana recently, the NCB boss stated that cannabis and alcohol remain the most abu­sive drugs at 64 and 25 percent respectively due to the availability and cost of these drugs.

According to him, out of a total of 8,556 persons who became psychiatric patients and were admitted at the Pantang, Accra Psychiatric, Valley View and Ankanful Psychiatric Hospitals as a result of hard drug use, only 1,945 obtained treatment.

The forum, which was organized by Crys­tal Youth Club, a Kumasi-based youth group attracted final year students of Ahensan MIA Junior High School, some youth associations and religious organizations in the Ahensan township.

The forum also showcased a video which features the testimony of one Pastor Davis of the Assemblies of God Church believed to be a reformed drug addict; Pastor Davis started using drugs at the age of 14 while in prison in Spain.

Mr. Dadzie pointed out that peer influence and curiosity were major factors that moved the youth into hard drugs, indicating that their effects on the individual, family and the nation as a whole were far reaching.

He mentioned a strong drug dependency armed robbery, domestic violence, rape/defile­ment, money laundering and the high cost of care and rehabilitation for addicts as some of the ripple effects.

Under the law, possession, use or trade in narcotic drugs is a criminal offence with a minimum of 10 years in prison for possession and trading, and five for its use besides con­fiscation of assets to the state.

Nicholas Osei-Wusu, Chairman of Crys­tal Youth Club said the forum formed part of activities such as a health screening, clean-up exercise and games to commemorate the club’s 10th anniversary.

According to him, the club had previously organized similar programmes on election malpractices and sexually transmitted infections (STI).

He cautioned the JHS students on the temptations ahead of them as they prepare to climb the academic ladder even higher urging them to focus on their education always.

Anthony Baah, Kumasi Metro Youth Council Coordinator, stated that his outfit had lined up programmes to re-orient the youth to­wards the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

He lauded the initiative of Crystal Youth pub and requested others to emulate the group while chastising some youth associa­tions that have made fun and funerals their prime focus.