Sierra Leone Govt Declares Drug Abuse A National Emergency

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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has declared drug abuse in the country a national emergency and outlined measures to combat a synthetic drug popular with young people.

Kush, a mixture of additive substances with similar effects to cannabis and tramadol, has been prevalent in the country for years, especially in urban areas.

“Our country is currently facing an existential threat due to the devastating impact of drugs and drug addiction, in particular the devastating synthetic drug kush,” President Bio said in an address to the nation on Thursday.

“This deadly kush is taking a devastating toll on our communities.”

He said his government was working to dismantle drug trafficking networks in the country.

The drug – which is also known as K2 – is easily accessible to unemployed young people seeking an escape from poverty and the traumas of life.

Health experts warn that kush intake can lead to permanent brain damage and suicidal actions.

In February, Sierra Leone’s government established a rehabilitation centre for victims of drug abuse and set up a ministerial task force.

Sierra Leone’s neighbours, Guinea and Liberia, are also fighting to contain an increase in kush consumption.

In Liberia, President Joseph Boakai declared drug abuse a public health emergency and announced a committee to tackle the “existential threat”, during his first State of the Nation address in January.