A National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) is being developed to provide a framework for comprehensive drug prevention and control measures in the country.
It would serve as a necessary evidence-based working guidelines for law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to address drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related crimes in Ghana.
The workshop brought 30 participants from institutions such as the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), Ghana Police Service (GPS), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Department of Social Welfare (DSW), Mental Health Authority (MHA), National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), Ghana Education Service (GES), National Youth Authority (NYA)and Office of the National Chief Imam.
At a workshop organised by the NACOC was in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Tuesday in Accra, the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery said the NDCMP sought to protect and promote public health and ensure security of the public against illicit drugs.
He said experts from the health sector, law enforcement agencies department in charge of corruption, have been given the opportunity to contribute to the plan through such workshops.
Mr Dery stated the plan when validated would then be published and disseminated to relevant agencies, civil society organisations and development partners.
The Acting Director General of the NACOC, Mr Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh in his remarks said the plan would help promote public health, offering a high level of security and well-being of the general public.
He said drug abuse has become a national and international issue that needed to be addressed in a global context by variety of stakeholders.
“Therefore the document provided a common elaborated and comprehensive framework for responding in a consistent manner to be the drugs phenomenon throughout Ghana,” he added.
He said the prevention, treatment and law enforcement were crucial to reducing substance use and abuse in Ghana.
Mr Adu-Amanfoh said law enforcement was a critical role-player and operational focus on drug dealers and organised crime which would help cut short the chain of drug trafficking .
The Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender of ECOWAS Commission, Dr Siga Fatima Jagne in a speech read on her behalf said the NDCMP would serve as an operational tool to provide a coherent framework for comprehensive national drug prevention and control measures.
It will also provide the necessary evidence-based guidance to address drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related crimes in member states.
She said drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related crimes constitutes one of the serious socio-economic and security challenges facing several countries including ECOWAS members states.
“In addition to illicit drugs, the ECOWAS region is also exposed to other organised crimes including arms trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, piracy, terrorist financing and terrorism,” she added.
Dr Jagne stated that ECOWAS Commission would continue to engage with member states in finding solution to illicit trafficking and other organised crimes in the region.
She encouraged member states to develop evidence-based national drug control master plans to serve as a tool for specific measurable, achievable, realistic and timely delivery of national drug prevention and control activities.
The Board Chairman of NACOC, Mr John Mensah, in his remarks said illicit drug trade constitutes major hold back to economies and social development while, impacting on the vulnerable and marginalised in society.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI