Review of national drug policy advocated

Mr Akrasi Sarpong,former NACOB boss

Mr Akrasi Sarpong,former NACOB boss

Mr Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong, a former Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, has called for a review of the national policy on drugs and narcotics, to ensure that those addicted are identified and treated as sick people, instead of considering them as criminals.

He suggested that in any such review bill, substance use disorder should no more be considered as a crime, but a disease.

Mr Sarpong made the appeal at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) – Ghana, national open forum on drugs, organised in Accra, on the theme, ‘Drug policy reforms in Ghana, the need for health and human right approach’.

He indicated that, “If the policies and laws on drugs are not for the welfare and wellbeing of Ghanaians, there is the need for a review of policy on drugs and narcotics. The law on narcotics should be revisited, such that it allows for research into certain narcotics such as cannabis, for economic gains.”

He said Ghana could generate a lot of income from cannabis, which could be used for hair products, bio fuel, toothpaste and other products.

Mr Daniel Ansah, Country Leader, SSDP, said that the organisation was made up of students, who are concerned about the impact of drug abuse on society.

“To help achieve a safer and a more just future for the youth especially, we mobilise and empower young people in the process of pushing for appropriate policies on drugs that would yield the needed impact,” he said.

Mr Ansah said SSDP advocacy work on drugs in Ghana focused on stakeholder engagement, to push for sensible drug policies that seek to decriminalise drug usage, projecting rights of drug users, and provide adequate rehabilitation facilities through open fora and media engagements.

He said sensitisation on drug abuse, targeted students in senior high schools and tertiary institutions.

Professor Abedenego Amartey, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), encouraged SSDP members to be bold and educate their peers about the dangers of drug abuse.

The SSDP has its headquarters in Washington, and is currently present in more than 200 countries across the globe. - GNA


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