Professor Samuel Kombian, a Neuropharmacologist at the Department of Pharmacology, and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University for Development Studies (UDS), has advised young people not to experiment with drugs.
He said the issue of drug abuse often started when victims’ desire to explore and experiment their curiosity on drugs, which eventually lead them to drug addiction.
Professor Kombian said the prevalence of drug abuse, especially among young people, contributed to lower productivity coupled with medical conditions such as depression, collapsed veins, and suicide, among others.
He was addressing participants at this year’s annual youth forum in Tamale organised by Active Youth Global, a youth advocacy organisation, in partnership with the Northern Regional Secretariat of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA-GH) and sponsored by Plan International.
It was on the theme: “Securing the Future of Northern Ghana: A Critical Look at Drug Abuse,” and brought together some selected Senior High School students, youth led organisations, civil society organisations, among other stakeholders.
Dr Issah Rahama, Executive Director of Active Youth Global, said the theme was in line with its project dubbed: Youth Against Drugs (YAD), launched early this year, to address the prevalence of drug abuse among young people.
She said the effects of drug abuse was detrimental and transcended any gender dimension, adding “Many dreams of young people have been shuttered while many have been rendered mentally ill because of drugs abuse.”
She said, “United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Drugs report (Women and Drugs 2018) indicates that although few women use and inject drugs than men, women account for 20 per cent of the global estimates of people, who inject drugs. In terms of risks, women, who use drugs, have a greater vulnerability.”
Dr Rahama added that the issue of drugs abuse was time bomb, which required interventions to tackle and called on government, CSOs and NGOs to prioritise investing in the sensitisation and awareness campaigns on drugs abuse.
Mr Abdul-Hayi Moomen, Head of University Relations at UDS, charged the media to use their platforms to advocate reforms to help address the illicit use of drugs in the country.
Mr Mohammed Awal, Founder of Youth without Drugs and a former drugs addict, who shared his ordeal on abusing drugs, also emphasised the need for the youth not to experiment with drugs, saying it would rob them of their dreams and aspirations.