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Ghana faces a growing challenge with drug abuse – Mental Health Authority

Drug Abuse

The Mental Health Authority has noted that Ghana is experiencing an increasing challenge with drug abuse, particularly among the youth. The authority states that this issue is having a negative impact on public health, safety, and socio-economic development. Recent trends show a continual rise in drug-related incidents and health crises, highlighting the urgent need for strong prevention and intervention strategies. This statement was issued by the authority to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Wednesday, June 26th.

It added that “Data from the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) has consistently captured mental disorders due to alcohol and other psychoactive disorders among the top ten (10) causes of mental health outpatient (OPD) attendance. In 2023, a total of 3,765 cases of mental disorders due to alcohol use were attended to, and 5,554 cases with respect to other psychoactive substance use.

“The 5-year trend of mental disorders due to psychoactive substance use has shown a steady rise in the number of cases from 4,155 in 2019 to 5,554 cases in 2023, with the age range most affected being 20-34 yrs. It must be noted that children as young as 10- 14 years are also presenting with conditions stemming from drug use,” it said. The Mental Health Authority listed a number of efforts done to control the situation.

“The Mental Health Authority of Ghana has partnered with key stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse through various initiatives such as; Public Awareness Campaigns: The Authority has undergone several nationwide campaigns leveraging traditional media, community outreach programs, and social media to educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse reaching a broad audience, and hopes to do more in the future. By disseminating accurate information, we aim to reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek help.

“Youth and School-Based Programmes: Recognising the vulnerability of the youth to drug abuse, the Authority has embarked on several drug prevention advocacy drives in schools across the country in collaboration with teachers and school counsellors to educate and foster a supportive environment for students. These programs aim to educate young people in communities about the risks of drug abuse and promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

“Rehabilitation and Support Services: The Mental Health Authority through its facilities namely Pantang Hospital, Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, provides essential services such as counselling, detoxification, and rehabilitation services to individuals being managed for drug addiction. Beyond these, similar services are provided in other governmental and private accredited health facilities. “The Authority’s toll-free helpline (0800 678 678), is a ready support for individuals requiring urgent attention.”

By: Laud Nartey

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