Accra,- A total 242 persons have sought treatment for drug use from 15 treatment and rehabilitation facilities nationwide in the year 2020.
The primary substances of abuse for which these clients sought treatment intervention were alcohol and cannabis.
A statement made available to the Ghana News Agency by the Narcotics Control Commission, to commemorate this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, said 38 percent of the persons were linked to alcohol while 32.7 percent abused cannabis.
It projected that this figure would be higher should a national baseline study on drug use be conducted.
The statement called for the need to strengthen controls on the availability and access to drugs while sensitizing the populace with the facts on the dangers of substance abuse.
“This calls for more evidence based drug sensitization programmes and increasing access to counselling and treatment intervention for persons suffering from substance use disorders,” it said.
The statement mentioned that to strengthen its evidence-based intervention programmes, the Commission had trained its officers, as well as other stakeholders on the Universal Treatment Curriculum, an internationally certified programme for counselling and treatment intervention providers.
It said the ECOWAS Commission had trained officers of the Commission and other stakeholders on the Universal Prevention Curriculum, which aimed at building a professional drug use prevention workforce.
“These internationally certified programmes have equipped officers of the Commission and other stakeholders with international best practices in providing professional intervention programmes to address the drug use problem,” it said.
The statement explained that the use and abuse of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and other hard drugs, as well as some prescription drugs such as tramadol and codeine-based cough syrups had become common.
It stated that the situation could be due to lack of appreciation on the dangers these drugs posed and also partly due to misinformation on these substances.
The Commission, the statement said was working with its stakeholders, to share facts on drugs through its drug sensitization programmes and counseling and treatment interventions.
It indicated that the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) makes provision for drug use to be treated as a public health issue.
The statement said a special provision was made, in section 43 of Act 1019, “for the cultivation of cannabis which had not more than 0.3 percent THC content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed or for medical purposes”.
It noted that the provisions in Act 1019 do not imply that, drug use and/or cannabis had been legalized or decriminalized.
“We need to understand that, drug use and cultivation of cannabis remain an offence under Act 1019 in Ghana, with penalties on these offences provided explicitly within the Second Schedule of the Act. It is to be noted that, the plant referred to in section 43 of Act 1019 is industrial hemp”, it said.
Source: Ghana News Agency