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Students say no to illicit drugs

BY: Eugenia Asare Tandoh
Organisers of the programme and some of the schoolchilden pledging to choose a bright future by staying away from illicit drugs.
Organisers of the programme and some of the schoolchilden pledging to choose a bright future by staying away from illicit drugs.

Schoolchildren who were invited to a programme in Accra to educate them on the dangers of using illicit drugs have vowed to stay away from such drugs.

This was after watching a power point presentation on the effects of the drugs.

The presentation showed how the drugs had destroyed the lives of beautiful, young people.

There were occasional gasps and expressions of sadness during the 20-minute presentation, which depicted how some young and old people in the United States of America (USA) looked like before they began using drugs and how they looked after abusing the drugs, eventually leading to their death.

A Special Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the US Department of Justice, Mr Rockwell E. Herron, who did the presentation, advised the students to make the right choices while they were young to influence their future positively.

He explained that even though the USA was the biggest drug-consuming nation in the world, the situation was corrupting other nations, hence the need to educate young people everywhere on the consequences of using illicit drugs.

The Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr Henry Quartey, advised the schoolchildren to make the right choices, since their parents would not do that for them, adding: “I know you have big dreams for yourselves, but remember that drugs will not help you realise them. They will rather destroy your dreams.”

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The acting Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Mr Francis Kofi Torkornoo, explained that the DEA was a body which enforced drug laws in the US, adding that recently, the DEA started educating young people to create awareness of the dangers of abusing drugs in a programme dubbed: ‘The 360 Strategy’.

He said the programme in Accra was the first to be organised in the West-African sub-region, since the DEA started the 360 Strategy.

NACOB’s mandate, he said, was to, among other things, enforce laws on drugs, saying that his outfit also regularly educated schoolchildren on the dangers of abusing drugs.

For his part, the Regional Director of the DEA, Mr Andre Kallum, said the theme for the programme: “I choose my future”, was a very important concept.

He said he grew up in Chicago at a time when the state was plagued with crime and drug use, and at a very young age he had to choose between pursuing his dreams or joining a gang to commit crime and also abuse drugs.

“And guess what, I am standing here with you today because I chose the right path. So I want you to do the same if you want something good for your future,” he told the children.

Present at the programme was the American Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie S. Sullivan, and about 500 students from selected schools in the Greater Accra Region.

Students of Emmanuel School at North Kaneshie in Accra entertained the participants with a drama on the effects of abusing drugs.