BCG seeks support to reduce alcoholism, drug abuse

The Blue Cross Ghana (BCG), a non-governmental organisation, has appealed for public support to reduce the spate of alcoholism and drug abuse especially among the youth, in the country.

General Secretary of the organisation, Reverend Patrick Acheampong who made the appeal said the prevalence spelt doom for Ghana if urgent measures were not taken to control it.

He was speaking at a fundraising event held in Accra on Saturday as part of activities to climax this year’s Blue Cross Week (BCW) celebration of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG).

Bringing together officials from the government, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), members of the Clergy among other distinguished personalities, the fundraiser was to support projects by the NGO to combat alcohol and substance abuse in the country.

Key amongst the projects is the “Blue Cross School Project” which targets Senior High School (SHS) students and seeks to educate them on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse to ‘save’ the future generation.

Rev. Acheampong, citing a 2013 research conducted by the BCG, said, “young people from age nine upwards have been found to abuse alcohol and other psychoactive substances and those in their teens had become masters of all kinds of drugs.”

He said looking at the population of younger people in the country at 60.5 percent of the total population, it was important that attention was focused on the group to secure the future.

“We are all witnesses of the increased social vices like rape, kidnapping, robberies and even murder involving very young people. The kind of injuries, loss of lived and livelihood among the youth due to alcohol and other substance abused and its toll on families and the national cannot be over-emphasised,” he said.

The General Secretary lamenting dwindling donor funds to support work of NGOs in the country, appealed to kindhearted persons, corporate and religious institutions to support the activities of the BCG to deliver on its mandate.

The Director, Tobacco and Substance Abuse Directorate of the FDA, Olivia AgyekumwaaBoateng, in a speech read of her behalf said the FDA had launched the “Daabi Campaign” to sensitise the public, particularly, the youth, on substance abuse.

MrsBoateng, commended the work of the BCG, as a Christian organisation champions the course, and expressed the FDA’scommitment to partner with it to educate the public.

The number of people using drugs is projected to increase 11 per cent by 2030 with low-income countries accounting for the lion’s share of this rise, the 2021 global World Drug Report, estimates.

The number of drug users in Africa, it says, is projected to rise in the next decade by as much as 40 per cent  because of the demographic peculiarities of the region; largely youthful.

In Ghana, statistics show that more than 2,700 boys and 3,100 girls smoke cigarettes each day with shisha use higher in girls (1.7 per cent) than boys (1.6 per cent).

According to the Ghana Drug Report in 2019, health professionals working at state-funded psychiatric hospitals estimate that about 10 per cent of inpatient, and between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of outpatient cases were linked to substance abuse.

Research from 15 psychiatric hospitals in Ghana has shown that about 70 per cent of inmates in those hospitals were youth from junior high schools, secondary and tertiary institutions


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