Blue Cross Society sensitises school children to drug abuse

•Rev. Patrick Acheampong (inset), General Secretary of the GBCS speaking to students on drugs.

• Rev. Patrick Acheampong (inset), General Secretary of the GBCS speaking to students on drugs.

The Ghana Blue Cross Society (GBCS), an anti-alcohol advocacy group within the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), has rolled out a project to sensitise school children to the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse as part of efforts to address the surge in the country.

The “GBCS School Awareness Project” is expected to help students overcome negative influences and societal pressures that lure them into alcohol intake, drug abuse and other social vices.

It will also see the formation of “sober clubs” in various schools to particularly counsel and guide children in matters related to abuse in all forms.

General Secretary of the Society, Reverend Patrick Acheampong, in an interview at the piloting of the campaign at the Odorgonno Senior High School in Accra, lamented the high number of youth wasting away in the country as a result of addiction to drugs and strong drinks.

“Our findings reveal young people involved in strong addiction through various factors including peer pressure, curiosity, irresponsible parenting, attractive media advertisements among others and we as a society want to tackle this from the root cause which is mostly the schools,” he noted.

According to the General Secretary, forming the attitude of sombreness among students was critical to building a “responsible society” in the nearest future, and therefore, urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to direct attention to such areas.

“The GES must also be proactive in cracking the whip on some teachers who serve as bad role models to students as many are in the habit of such vices in our schools,” he said.

Rev. Acheampong further charged stakeholders in the health sector to enforce the national alcohol policy to regulate the production, distribution, advertisement and consumption of alcohol to minimise the negative impact of its consumption.

He advised students to completely abstain from drugs and alcohol for whatever reasons, appealing to the general public to be each other’s keeper and help in the reformation of addicted persons back into the society.

A counsellor and nurse at Recovery Talk Ghana, a non-governmental organisation focused on rehabilitating drug addicts, Mr Michel Amegbletor, enumerated the dangers of the substance abuse to students.

Having been a chronic addict and reformed in the last five years, the psychotherapist bemoaned the lack of support mechanisms for addicts and lauded the initiative to reach out to school children as “they are most prone to alcohol and drug influence.”

“Do not touch any form of drugs or strong drink because once you do, there is a high possibility you will touch it again and before you realise you have become addicted,” he cautioned the students.

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