As per statistics in Sierra Leone, 60% of drug abusers and alcohol intakes are the young people whom society considers to be the drivers of the country’s governance in the near feature. And as a result of this alarming concern, many citizens have lamented that if proper laws and other related mechanisms are not put in place to cut off or minimize drug abuse and inappropriate alcohol intake in the country, the strides that have been made by our present leaders in governance in terms of promoting accountability, transparency and fair justice for all are bound to demise in the future.
According to sources gathered so far drug addict and alcoholism continue to be eminent base on the smuggling activity that has increased over the years and that has also created a spillover effect to our society. The United Nations’ 2012 World Drug Report stated that the “Increase in trafficking of cocaine through the coastal countries of West Africa is leading to an increase in cocaine use… with cocaine use possibly emerging alongside heroin use as a major problem”.
The only certified psychiatrist in the country, Dr. Nahim estimated that 80 percent of the patients he sees are suffering from “drug-induced psychotic disorders”. He noted that for now, the majority of those cases stem from heavy abuse of alcohol and high-grade marijuana, but that he is also observing an increase in the use of cocaine and heroin.
Furthermore, according to a constable police officer attached at the Congo Cross Police Division who remained to be anonymous on this piece, drug abuse and alcohol intake are on the rise in the country. He described the situation as “alarming,” and linked it to “an increase in gangsterism”.
“They use drugs and alcohol more than is necessary, and it spurs them to behave abnormally and do things they wouldn’t do in their right senses,” he said. “They kill, they rape, they smoke marijuana, and they carry weapons and do criminal activities.”
This anonymous police officer called on the attention of relevant authorities to effectively implement the legislation passed in 2009 that created stiffer penalties for drug trafficking. That legislation, in March 2010 the UN secretary-general’s representative to Sierra Leone praised it and described it as a laudable venture taken up by government to curb drug trafficking in the country, but argued that to effectively tackle Sierra Leone’s drug problem, the country’s high unemployment rate for young people must first be addressed.
More over in a survey conducted by the Office of Postgraduate Training and Non-Communicable Diseases and Research at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation indicated that 17.2% of Sierra Leoneans are consuming alcohol almost on a daily basis in the country. This was revealed by the Director of Office of Postgraduate Training and Non-Communicable Diseases and Research, Dr. Donald Taqi at the Ministry at a one-day- sensitization workshop on the harmful effects of alcohol and non-communicable diseases at the Committee Room at the University House, Fourah Bay College in Freetown.
Furthermore, a 2003 survey report showed that in Sierra Leone, alcohol consumption is about 7% for beer and others 93%. According to many the reason to that is the fact that the beer is very much expensive for the common man to afford it, no alcohol policy set in the country and there is also an indication that there is no total ban on alcohol in sight and no proper adopted written national policy on alcohol, no national control for production and sale, no nationwide awareness raising activities targeting young people about drinking and the effects of drunk driving and no nationwide awareness raising activities targeting alcohol and pregnancy.
Research in psychology and neuroscience shows us that one’s personality and intelligence develop during childhood and teenage years until becoming fully developed by age 25. Likewise, during your younger years, you write the story you tell about yourself – who are you, how do you understand your worth and your potential? Then you live this story through your adult life. In other words, the person you shape while growing up could be the person you’re stuck with.
Therefore allowing drugs or alcohol to influence you as a young individual can affect not just who you are today, but who you can be and will become in the feature.
Here are five reasons why substance abuse is especially dangerous for young people.
Young people in Sierra Leone are being described as those between age 15 and 35 years older and this age bracket is said to comprise 45% of Sierra Leone population. Substance abuse has long been a problem for the impoverished West African country. Throughout the 1990s, a civil war gained international notoriety for the role played by drug-fuelled teenagers, who committed atrocities and launched an anarchic attack on the capital. The effects of marijuana, alcohol, and amphetamines contributed to the violence. When the conflict ended in 2002, many combatants returned home addicted to those substances.
Hidden in a congested area of downtown Freetown is the so-called “Lumley Street Cartel Ground”. Down a narrow entrance, barely visible amid a throng of market stalls, the collection of shacks is a hub for the distribution and use of drugs in the capital city.