A durbar to climax to 2017 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking has been held at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region with a call on Ghanaians to see drug abuse and addiction as a disease which requires treatment.

“We need to appreciate that, drug addiction is a disease, a disease requiring treatment. It is time for Ghana to consider this notion and begin to take steps to addressing the problem of drug abuse abuse and addiction from the ‘Public Health-Centred ‘perspective”

The call was made by the Minister for the Interior, Hon. Ambrose Dery, in a speech read on his behalf as the Special Guest of Honour for the celebration which was under the theme “Listen first – listening to Children and Youth is the First Step to Help Them Grow Healthy and Safe”.

According to the Minister, the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking is a shared responsibility and therefore called for a collective effort in this regard.

He indicated that, it was for this reason that the Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2017 is proposing the tackling of substance abuse with a public health centred approach which focus on treatment and rehabilitation of abusers and addicts instead of incarceration.

Touching on the theme, which is a repeat of last year’s, the Minister urged parents, guardians, teachers and society at large to listen to the children.

According to him, it is when they listen that they can appreciate their concerns, doubt’s, fears, believes and ideas.

He reiterated that, by failing to listen, we would be predisposing the children to dangers associated with drug abuse with its negative consequent effects on the parents and society at large.

The Minister commended NACOB for consistently observing the day with   series of events each year to increase awareness on the harmful effects of hard drugs and illicit drug trafficking.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed on 26th June as an expression of the UN’s determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of a drug abuse free international society.