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General News of Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Source: The Finder

Drug use alarming; 11-year-olds involved

A clinical psychologist has expressed concern about the high number of juveniles involved in the use of narcotic substances in the country.

Mrs Victoria Esinam Assah-Offei said children as young as 11 years are increasingly being lured into the use of narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

She revealed this in an exclusive interview with The Finder in Accra.

Information available from schools in Accra indicates an alarming number of juveniles involved in illicit drug use.

She estimates that juveniles accounted for over 15% of narcotic drug users in the country.

She said the seriousness of the situation is evident by the number of primary school children using the drugs in schools.

“A visit to some primary schools in Accra exposed children using narcotics. While some were busy on the drugs, others were caught with drugs in their pockets,” she said.

Mrs Assah-Offei, who is the chairperson of the education sub-committee of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, said the situation is also prevalent in second-cycle schools in Accra, where students lure their peers into the use of narcotic drugs.

According to Mrs Assah-Offei, research has revealed that students using drugs usually lace the substance with the black pepper (shito) of their colleagues from affluent homes in an attempt to lure them into the use of the substances.

She said information available to her suggests that in order to sustain the source of money for their drugs, the students try to get unsuspecting peers hooked on the drugs.

When that is achieved, children from affluent homes provide money for the purchase of the drugs. Mrs Assah-Offei attributed the increasing use of drugs by juveniles to parental neglect and the desire for money at the expense of their children.

Due to the parental neglect, some of the juveniles visit drinking spots and patronise drinks laced with narcotic substances.

She advised parents to bond with their children and endeavour to inculcate good social values in them.