Drug Abuse Crisis: Sierra Leone Government Declares National Emergency

Drug Abuse Crisis: Sierra Leone Government Declares National

Drug Abuse Crisis: Sierra Leone Government Declares National Emergency

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio has taken decisive action in response to the escalating crisis of substance abuse by declaring a national emergency. The move comes amid mounting pressure on his administration to confront the proliferation of a dangerous synthetic drug known as kush, which has wreaked havoc since its emergence in the country around four years ago.

Kush, a potent cocktail of marijuana, fentanyl, and tramadol, has claimed numerous lives and inflicted severe psychiatric harm on countless individuals, although official statistics on the exact death toll are unavailable. President Bio, in a late-night address on Thursday, lamented the devastating impact of kush on the nation’s youth, referring to it as a threat to the very foundation of Sierra Leone.

To combat this crisis, President Bio outlined a comprehensive plan that includes the establishment of a national task force on substance abuse. This task force, comprising representatives from various sectors of society, will be overseen by a presidential advisory team. The proposed strategy aims to pave the way for a drug-free future through a five-step approach, signaling the government’s commitment to tackling the issue head-on.

One of the contributing factors to the widespread use of kush is its affordability, which makes it easily accessible to disenfranchised and unemployed youth, particularly in a country where a significant portion of the population lives below the poverty line. Moreover, the drug’s presence extends beyond Sierra Leone’s borders, with reports of its prevalence in neighboring Liberia.

Local communities have been vocal in their calls for government intervention to address the scourge of kush and provide support for those struggling with addiction. Abdul Jalloh, the director of Sierra Leone’s sole psychiatric hospital, expressed support for President Bio’s declaration, recognizing it as a crucial step toward addressing the pervasive issue of drug abuse.

President Bio’s decisive action underscores the gravity of the situation and highlights the urgent need for collective efforts to combat substance abuse and its detrimental effects on society. As Sierra Leone mobilizes to confront this crisis, the nation looks to its leadership for effective strategies and concrete measures to mitigate the impact of kush and safeguard the well-being of its citizens.


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