The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, has stressed that under no circumstance does abusing drugs aid students to study in school.
Speaking in a telephone interview with the Junior Graphic, Dr Osei pointed out that those drugs rather damage the brain, explaining that the brains of young people were still developing; therefore, abusing drugs could easily damage the part that motivates them to aspire to greater heights.
He explained further that when that side of the brain was damaged, the youngster would often not feel the urge to continue being in school anymore.
“That is why a lot of the young people who abuse drugs are school drop-outs. This is because the motivational side of the brain has been damaged so there is no motivation to be in school,” he added.
Apart from that, Dr Osei noted that studies have shown that 70 per cent of young people, who abuse drugs died before they turned 45 years, and for those who survived after that age, might either suffer imprisonment or various diseases such as lung cancer and mental problems.
“For females, who abuse drugs, their chances of getting pregnant in future will be difficult and even when they do, they could have miscarriages. When they are able to sail through to delivery, the child might suffer certain health conditions,” he stated.
Dr Osei added that abusing drugs could also affect the quality of the sperm males produce which could affect their chances of fathering children in future and, therefore, urged young people to not to abuse drugs , especially those who had not yet begun to safeguard their future.
For those who were already engaged in the practice and wanted to quit but were finding it difficult to do so, Dr Osei advised them to seek professional help to kick the habit.
Speaking on the current trend in the abuse of drugs among young people in the country, the CEO of the Mental Health Authority disclosed that a lot more young people were now abusing drugs than in the past.
“Now children as young as nine and 13 years are abusing drugs. After further investigations, it is often revealed that the teenager started abusing drugs as young as eight years,” he said.
“This is worrying since in the past youngsters start abusing drugs when they are 18 years or above,” he added.
Dr Osei mentioned the drugs that were commonly abused by young people to include inhaling of superglue while fuel fumes was highly patronised by younger adolescents; those who were 18 years and above smoked cannabis, injected heroine and consumed alcohol and tramadol.
Ghana recently joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which was on the theme, ‘Let’s develop our lives, our communities, our identities without drugs.’
Dr Osei urged all to help nurture the youth to become responsible adults so that they would help develop their communities in future.