by Adeolu Ogrumbombi

Recently a team from the West African Commission on Drugs conducted visited a community in Accra, Ghana to see and have a direct interaction with people who use drugs in order to better understand the drug use situation in the country. I was part of the team and the experience was truly revealing. Based on my personal thought I will say it is high time we confronted the reality that narcotic drugs are increasingly being consumed in West Africa and the region does not just serve as a transit point. Embracing this reality should not just be in words but reflected in our laws, policies, and practice.

Whilst we do have reports and evidence that points to cannabis as the most widely consumed drug in the region, it was a surprise to me and many other members of the team that the drug of choice listed by the consumers in the community was crack and heroin with little or no mention of cannabis. In the words of one of the community members ‘these drugs are well within reach and available to us without so much stress’. A wrap of crack and heroin enough for a fix cost as little as 4 and 6 cedi respectively. With this reality, the one question popped up in my mind without playing down the role of law enforcement and considering the many years of implementing punitive drug laws was can we truly enforce our way out of drug consumption?

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.