18.05.2004 General News

Drug victims to benefit from barons - Hackman

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Dodowa (GR), May 18 GNA - The Ministry of the Interior is considering possibilities of using confiscated assets of drug traffickers as rehabilitation centres for people on drugs. Consequently, forty Community nurses are being trained to man drug treatment centres in the country.

The Ministry has also begun a pilot programme dubbed, "Alternative Development Programme (ADP)" to wean off people cultivating cannabis locally known as "wee" in the country.

Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of the Interior said 325 farmers who have so far been weaned off the cultivation of cannabis were engaged on a pilot project to cultivate food crops and other cash crops as alternative means of livelihood.

He was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop for 35 journalists drawn from various media houses on Drugs Abuse and HIV/AIDS in Dodowa on Tuesday.

Topics being discussed included; Drugs production and trafficking in Ghana, Drug abuse and HIV/AIDS in Ghana: challenges for effective intervention.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the Ghana Aids Commission has provided 250 million cedis to support the ADP whiles the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs has also provided two cassava processing machines. He said government was committed to vigorous campaign against drugs in the country, but it was faced with how to stop those suffering from taking the drug and those who have been cultivating it.

The Minister said the collaboration between the security agencies have yielded good results and urged the media to lead in the crusade to combat HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.

Mr. Owusu-Agyeman also announced that 20 Regional and Districts Health Coordinators of the Ghana Education Service have been trained to assist in the fight against drugs.

Colonel Isaac K. Akuoko, Executive Secretary of the Narcotic Control Board noted that drug abuse and HIV/AIDS posed a great danger to human race and resources.

He said drug abuse had led to increase in robbery, rape, and school drop-out and urged the media to champion the fight against the menace. Dr Joseph B. Asare, Chief Psychiatrist of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital called for intensive education for all in the fight against drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. He therefore urged participants to come out with ideas that would assist stakeholders in the fight against the menace. 18 May 04

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