13.01.2004 General News

Drug business second to oil trade -NCB

13.01.2004 LISTEN

Kumasi, Jan 13, GNA - Col I.K. Akuoko, Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, said on Tuesday that the annual turnover of the drug business is estimated at about 500 billion dollars globally.

This, he said, makes the drug business second only to the oil trade in terms of turnover and therefore, attracting unpatriotic people to it.

Col Akuoko said this at the opening of a three-day training of trainer's workshop for core educators on drug prevention in schools in Kumasi.

The workshop, which is being organised by the Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with support of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and being attended by 61 School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Co-ordinators drawn from the northern sector of the country.

It is designed to create a platform for equipping SHEP Co-ordinators of the GES with the relevant information on drugs to enable them to disseminate the right messages on drug abuse to school children and communities in which they operate.

Col. Akuoko said the drug business had assumed an alarming proportion and no nation could now claim immunity to its devastating effects.

"All continents, regions and countries, including our own country, Ghana, are all feeling the negative impact of the illicit drug business."

He said the drug business had become so sophisticated and complex that no single institution or government could overcome it unless through a genuine collaborative effort of the various ministries, groups and countries.

Col. Akuoko said the government on its part has already demonstrated adequate political will at curbing the problem of drug abuse as evidenced by the establishment of the Narcotics Control Board in 1990 and stressed the need for individuals to complement its efforts by helping to expose those engaged in the drug business.

In an address read on her behalf, Reverend Ama Afo Blay, Director-General of the GES, said even though efforts of the law enforcing agencies at arresting and prosecuting drug abuse barons were appreciated, "arrest and prosecution alone cannot erase the menace of drug abuse in the system".

She was of the conviction that it is only when adequate resources are committed to reducing the demand for drugs that its supply could be affected and the problem eventually curbed.

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