It was part of activities of a week-long summer camp organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports at Bwiam, Foni.
Addressing the children on the menace and destruction caused by drugs, Ousman Saidy-Bah, assistant public relations officer at NDEA) said his department is aware of the negative impact of drugs on the lives of many young people and advised the children to desist from drug abuse.
He informed the campers that NDEA is the lead security body in the fight against drugs in the country. The agency was established in 2005 as an autonomous security body responsible for the implementation of the Drug Control Act by preventing drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country and engaging in sensitisation work.
He explained: “The effects of drugs are not hidden. Families have been destroyed with some losing their jobs and lives and many young people are mentally ill because of drugs. It is a global problem and there is no continent in the world that has totally eradicated the use and sale of illicit drugs, but we believe that programmes of this nature will help informed the citizenry.”
Saidy-Bah said everyone has a role to play in solving the problems of drugs abuse, stressing the importance of community participation. “When that happens, we will create a very safe and sound environment for the young people of the country,” he posited.
He told them that “there is no compromise for drug abuse and drug traffickers”, and that anyone acting in contravention of the drug laws “will face the full force of the law”.
The NDEA 2013 local statistics, he said, revealed that between 2010 and 2012, a total of 1,161 people were arrested with drugs, of whom 243 were between the ages of 13 and 19.
He further went to highlight some of the reasons why some youths turn to drugs, citing peer influence and the false notion that taking drugs makes a person better. “Do not look up to drug dealers as role models because they are not living in peace,” he warned. He encouraged the participants to disseminate the knowledge gained at the camp to their peers at large.
Modou Jobe, public relations officer at the NDEA advised the children to choose good friends and to be advising each other to avoid drugs.
He said stiff punishment awaits drug offenders, saying a lot of people on remand conviction at state central prison dabbled in drugs. He pleaded to the children to be conscious of the underhand strategies being used by drug dealers like using school-going children for trafficking.]]>