Involve media in policy formulation on drug and substance abuse – GJA

Accra – The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has called for the involvement of the media in policy formulation so they could champion guidelines more effectively and efficiently.

Mrs Audrey Francesca Dekalu, Treasurer of GJA, noted that the media were most times disengaged in the policy formulation on drugs and substance abuse, but were often called on to support the actions that have been rolled out.

Mrs Dekalu was speaking at the just ended two-day inter-agency Consultative Forum on Strategies for Countering Counterfeit Drugs and Substance Abuse held in Accra by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAP) in partnership with Africa Alliance Partnership (AAP).

It was on the theme: Effective Strategies for Countering Counterfeit Drugs and Substance Abuse.

Mrs Dekalu said the media had over the years been an important ally in public health and a source of correct information as well as advocates of right positive health behaviour.

She, therefore, urged the FDA to cultivate a strong collaboration between the authority and media in their educational campaign drive against Tramadol and other substance abuse in the country.

FDA should be more proactive in engaging the media to address the issue of drug and substance abuse.

Mrs Dekalu stressed the need for the FDA to continuously train the media on the abuse of drugs and other related matters.

Agenda setting on the abuse of drugs and the dangers of abuse of substances could be taken up by the media if they are well engaged.

The GJA Treasurer tasked the FDA to also regulate the advertisement of drugs in the media.

She further called for the provision of more rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, especially the youth.

On December 11, 2017, the United Nations Office on Drug Control issued a warning to international Community on the implications of the abuse/ non medical use of tramadol and its broader linkages with the global fight against terrorism and transitional organised crime.

In Ghana, the FDA had waged war against the abuse of tramadol among the youth by organising swoops to arrest drug peddlers in the regional capitals.

The issue became of interest when in 2016, intelligence gathered by the FDA across the country pointed to scattered incidence.

During series of raids, alarming quantities of unregistered tramadol with strengths of 120 mg, 225mg and 250mg were uncovered. In Ghana, Tramadol a pain killer acceptable strength approved by the FDA were in 50mg and 100mg and same could only be purchased by prescription.

Source: Ghana News Agency