Mr Albert Abongo, the Upper East Regional Minister, who made the call in Bolgatanga, expressed concern about the upsurge of drug and alcohol addiction among the youth in the region.
Mr Abongo, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Bongo Constituency, attributed the causes of the menace to socio-cultural practices such as festivals, refreshment during communal labour, changing family structures, media advertisement and peer pressure.
“Drug abuse is one of the most serious health challenges in the world of which Ghana is no exemption. Besides damaging health, it has several side effects such as diseases, economic loss and anti-social behaviours such as stealing, violence and social stigma among others. We need a concerted effort to approach these issues “, he said.
He said government alone cannot tackle the phenomenon and commended the Life out of Alcohol and Drugs- Ghana (LOAD), Basic Needs Ghana and Nab Azagsuk Azantilow, the Paramount Chief of the Builsa Traditional Area, for complementing government‘s effort at tackling the menace.
The Regional Minister said the earlier children begin to use drugs, the more they develop drug dependency symptoms later in life, and appealed to parents, guardians and opinion leaders to provide adequate care to their children.
Mr Abongo said Government was committed to addressing the issue hence the introduction of various policies against the abuse of alcohol and drug abuse.
He said this included the Narcotic Drug Law 1990 (PNDC Law 236) which focuses on control, enforcement of sanctions on the use and trade in illicit drugs as well as the Drug Policy Reforms which is aimed at dealing with drug production, use, trafficking and organized crime at the sub regional and the national level.
Nab Azagsuk Azantilow, who chaired the function, stressed the need to make Ghana an unattractive destination for drug trafficking and urged government to provide more centres to rehabilitate victims of drug abuse.
The event which was organized by LOAD Ghana with support from Regional Coordinating Council , Basic Needs Ghana and the Ghana Health Service.
It was preceded by route match in the Bolagtanga Municipality by the youth and school pupils including some security agencies.
The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to serve us a reminder of the goals agreed by member states of creating an international society free from drug abuse.