We Are Vulnerable To Narcotics - Tamale Pupils

A number of schoolchildren in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, have stated that they are vulnerable to the use of narcotics following the failure of state institutions to prohibit public smoking. They said they could not comprehend how the youth were expected to stay clear of narcotics such as tobacco while adults were permitted to smoke in full view of the public. The school children raised these concerns at a public symposium in Tamale to mark World Drugs Day which was celebrated globally on June 26, 2011. The symposium; organised by the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), was on the theme: “Be smart to be healthy – Don’t do drugs”. Students and teachers from a number of selected basic and second-cycle schools participated in the event. “If cigarette smoking is dangerous, why do people do it in public and nothing is done to stop them?” one of the students queried during question time. Aside the issue of public smoking, the children also raised eyebrows over the failure of state security institutions to prevent the transit of drugs in and out of the country. A member of the governing board of NACOB and acting Deputy Chief Executive for Drugs at the Food and Drugs Board, Mrs. Akua Owusua Amartey, however, cautioned the students not to allow the fact that others smoked to sway them into using drugs. “You must remain guided by the fact that drug abusers are exposed to a lot of health hazards including mental illness, which you don't want to get into,” she stated. Mrs. Amartey also entreated the students not to allow themselves to be used by drug dealers as couriers of drugs, since that had health and other implications. “If you swallow pellets of cocaine, you are likely to end up dead; if you survive, you are more likely to end up behind prison bars,” she said. A member of the Council of State, Kpan-Naa Mohammed Bawa, entreated heads of schools to use Monday morning assembly meetings to sensitise the students and teachers to pertinent issues such as drug abuse.