Drug Addiction Among The Youth: A Threat To National Security

I must admit in the first place that drug addiction among the youth did not start today.  It has been with us for so long a time but currently it has escalated to the extent that if something is not done about it, the security of the nation will be compromised.  Long time ago, only marijuana was found in the hard drugs market and only the elderly patronised it.  The youth were even afraid to go near that hard drug since they feared they could get mad if they smoked marijuana.  In fact, we were made to understand by our fathers that anyone who smoked ‘wee’ was a mad man.

In the early 1970s, when drugs like Cocaine, Heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, Purple Violet and Barbiturates entered the Ghanaian market, the youth, particularly students in our universities, fell head over heels in love with them for one reason or the other.  In fact, in those days, such drugs were sold in the big cities alone and only the rich could lay hands on them because they were very costly.  Students from rich families got hooked to these drugs while those of us who came from poor families dared not try to sniff, drink, inject or smoke them for fear of being addicted to them.  In those days, when you entered any discotheque or night club, you could easily distinguish between dancers who were ‘high’ on Ecstasy and those on Cocaine because of the way they behaved and danced.  The one who took Ecstasy could dance and sweat all night while the one who had sniffed Cocaine would sit quietly, giggling and watching dancers.

When students came to realize that when they took one teaspoonful of Purple Violet they would not sleep throughout the night, they used this particular drug in order to stay awake to learn during the night.  In other words, they burnt the midnight candle with Purple Violet. One day, when we were “mining” together, I was introduced to Purple Violet and for two days I could not sleep.  I ended up at the hospital where the doctor advised me never to take that particular drug again because it had other purposes rather than just drinking them to keep awake.  I never went near Purple Violet again.  As the years rolled by and with more of such drugs entering the market, more people got hooked to them.

We have many people in responsible positions today who once tried one or more of these drugs but if you ask them whether they ever did, they will tell you they never tried one.  That is why the youth of today have become addicted to these drugs after trying one for the first time.  If, for example, you have smoked marijuana before and your child asked you if you have even tried one, tell him the truth and use the opportunity to advise him to desist from such drugs because it would not end him well rather than denying flatly.  It is when we open up to the young ones that they will not try these drugs at all, not to talk of being addicted to them.

There is this young lady called Efe (not real name) who lives in my holy village. She is now totally crazy because of excessive use of hard drugs.  She was a level two hundred student in one of the tertiary institutions when she was introduced to marijuana.  She loved the stuff and quickly got hooked to it.  She graduated from smoking marijuana to sniffing Cocaine. By the time she entered her third year, she had gone ‘gaga’.  Today, Efe is roaming the nooks and crannies of our village, virtually naked.  She uses her textbooks to wrap marijuana and when she fails to lay hands on marijuana, she goes for cigarettes.  When she goes ‘high’ and you engage her in conversation, she speaks fluent English language.  Instead of taking her to a psychiatric hospital, her parents said somebody had cast a spell on her and so even when she is taken to a psychiatric hospital, she would never recover.  There are thousands of the like of Efe roaming the streets due to their addiction to hard drugs.

Unlike the years gone by when the drugs were sold in only the big cities, these days the hard drugs mentioned above can be found in the remotest villages.  In fact, these days marijuana is puffed freely in public and nobody seems to care.  What is most disturbing is that junior high school (JHS) students have joined the bandwagon and you wonder what the future has for these small boys and girls.  The other day, I saw a group of JHS students standing under a mango tree puffing away marijuana and when I went closer to ask them why they were not in school but smoking marijuana at that time of the day when they should have been in school, one of them told me to mind my own business. I quickly made a ‘U’ turn and doubled my steps because the boy who told me to mind my own business was holding a knife and his eyes were as red as that of an agitated cobra.  If you should ask me why I ran away, you should as well ask me what the value of life is.

If you line up ten armed robbers, I can bet with my last Cedi that you will find eight of them ‘high’ on hard drugs.  They become daring when they take these drugs and do not even fear for their lives.  They see human beings as chickens and kill people at the slightest provocation.  Similarly, if you line up ten land guards, you will find eight of them ‘high’ on hard drugs. That is why I am saying drug addiction among the youth is a threat to national security.  We need to find the sources of supply of these drugs and plug holes.  Apart from marijuana, all the hard drugs mentioned above are imported to this country. They come by air, land or sea so we need to do some brainstorming.

The fact that we seldom hear of the arrest of drug barons these days doesn’t mean they have stopped operating.  These drug barons are very smart and they can easily change their modus operandi.  In some cases, they pay protection fees to the security officers who are supposed to arrest them.  I am looking forward to a day the IGP and other security agencies will simultaneously take a swoop on hard drug dealers throughout the country.  Those who would be arrested would have to be debriefed to find where they had the stock for sale.  Thereafter, the police and other security officers will have to move further to arrest the suppliers who will also tell the police their sources of supply.  If this action is taken periodically, few drugs will find their way into the Ghanaian market.

What is more worrisome is the introduction of Tramadol into the system.  This painkiller is being misused by people.  An overdose of Tramadol makes you feel like one who has sniffed a pound of Cocaine.  What is also disturbing is that drivers in particular use Tramadol and when they go ‘high’, they do not follow traffic regulations and cause accidents “by heart”.  One can easily get Tramadol at the drugstores and that to me is very serious.  What is the Ghana Health Service doing?  In Syria and Iraq where the Islamic State (IS) terrorists operate, these  sick brains who for so long a time have terrorized the poor people of those countries use Tramadol.  After taking an overdose of Tramadol, these religious zealots turn themselves into suicide bombers, killing and maiming poor souls.

The Boko Haram terrorists in nearby Nigeria also use Tramadol. We don’t hesitate to say the future belongs to the youth but sadly those to whom the future belongs to have no time to prepare themselves for the future.  Just go to every town or village in this country and you will see ghettoes where the youth visit to engage in drinking, sniffing or smoking of hard drugs.  You see, when one is ‘high’ on drugs, particularly Cocaine, he or she finds it difficult to do any work.  The only option to make money to buy these drugs is to steal anything and sell in other to get money to buy the drugs that he or she is addicted to.  As for ladies, who are hooked to drugs, they even go from one office to the other, soliciting for money.  They will concoct wonderful and sorrowful stories so that you move in sympathy with her and part some money.  Immediately she gets enough to buy the stuff, her next stop is the ‘base’ where she will quickly call for the drug of her choice.  I fear for generations yet unborn as I rest my case on drug addiction among the youth for now.

When An Honourable MP Receives Two Dirty Slaps

Good Old E. T. Mensah described Sam George as a ‘loose cannon’ and he is right.  On the day of the Ayawaso by-election, parliamentarians of both the Minority and the Majority in Parliament were in the constituency to help their respective candidates.  Because they are all honourable ladies and gentlemen, they did not get near where there was trouble.  They concentrated on the assignment given to them and stayed away from trouble.  Not so with this upstart called Sam George.

‘The loose cannon’ organized some notorious land guards and bused them to Ayawaso to cause trouble.  He was seen in a video rushing on a security guard who was on duty and was not part of any fracas.  Sam George heaped insults on the gentleman and when the gentleman could no longer contain the insults, he replied with two dirty slaps on the puffy face of the lawmaker, who should have known better. As other security men closed in, the loud-mouth dishonourable MP of Ningo Prampram had to take to his heels, running like Usain Bolt.  Who says man no dey?  This uncouth boy is a disgrace to the good people of Ningo Prampram.  Serves him right!!!

Eric Bawah