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General News of Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

UN reveals alarming situation of marijuana in Ghana

Ghana is making international headlines for the use and production of marijuana as well as the trafficking of the deadly methamphetamine substance, a narcotic drug, according to a UN report.

The UN report released on Tuesday, painted a gloomy picture for the country as far as narcotics is concerned.

Meanwhile, the Narcotics Control Board has warned that the use and trafficking of marijuana could plunge the country into chaos as the drug is currently found in every nook and cranny of the country.

NACOB said despite the fight against the illicit drug, the country’s acceptance of the drug and complex networks of its pushers are making it difficult to fight it.

Executive Secretary of the board, Akrasi Sarpong, who spoke at the launch of the Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board in Accra, issued a stern warning that the emerging trend is so pervasive that it can “colonize us”.

“Marijuana continues to be the gravest challenge. Prevalence usage cuts across all social classes, it cuts across all sectors of society. I will not be surprised if some guys in media use marijuana, I will not be surprised if some people at NACOB use narcotics, I will not be surprised if some lecturers use narcotics. It cuts right across, it is so prevalent and every village in this country has a pusher.”

Mr. Akrasi Sarpong noted that Indian hemp produced in Ghana is considered as premium in the sub-region. As a result, he noted that “there is a driving market for Ghanaian Indian hemp”.

He also expressed worry over the large volume of ephedrine being imported into the country by drug manufacturing companies. Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine commonly used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, concentration aid, decongestant, and for the treatment of hypotension associated with anaesthesia. He believes majority of the products are not used for its intended purpose, but are diverted for other use.

Mr. Akrasi Sarpong has therefore recommended to the Health Ministry to look for an alternative drug and ban the importation of ephedrine as done in Mexico.

“All the people, who are importing ephedrine into this country, what are they doing with the ephedrine? Or there are some people who are diverting it. If you divert one kilogram of ephedrine...there are bad guys out there who will pay $50,000 for 25 kilos. Why should I bring it in and go and produce something with it,” he questioned.

Meanwhile, the Head of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, Dr. Kwesi Aning is asking the country not to celebrate yet that the country is out of the wood as far as cocaine is concerned.

He however, commended the NACOB boss for his zeal in fighting narcotics in the country.

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