Yennusom Maalug: Ghanaians must break stigma around drug abuse

Maalug believes normalizing discussions around drug abuse is the surest way of dealing with such problems

The executive director of the Mental Health Institute (TMI), Dr Yennusom Maalug has said communities and individuals must create a congenial environment for discussions about drug abuse in a bid to help those struggling with the menace.

Reports by the Ghana Narcotics Control Board reveal that about 70% of the youth in the country abuse drugs.

Another study indicated that daily, over 12% of the youth use marijuana and over 16.2 % use alcohol.As of
now the demographics clearly indicate that drug abuse is mostly by males within the ages of 18-40 years in

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ghana has over 2.3 million people living with various mental health conditions, yet mental health care remains a challenge, with a 98% treatment gap.

Speaking on the topic ” Drug Abuse Among The Youth- the Future of Mouk” at the 47th Bimoba Students Union’s 47th Annuals Congress at Nankpaduri on Thursday (28 December), Maalug emphasised the need to break the stigma associated with mental health.

“As a community, we must foster an environment that encourages open dialogue about drug abuse, providing support and resources for those who may be struggling.

“Education is our most potent weapon against the scourge of drug abuse. We must empower our youth with knowledge about the consequences of substance abuse, not just on physical health but also on mental well-being, relationships, and future opportunities,” Maalug said.

He added, “It’s equally crucial to break down the stigma associated with seeking help. We need to encourage a culture where reaching out for assistance, whether from friends, family or professionals, is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.”

Maalug also used the opportunity to donate 200 copies of a book titled ‘Drug abuse destroys’ worth GHC4,000 to the Mental Health Institute with support from the MP for Bunkpurugu, Dr Abed Bandim.

The event was attended by a host of dignitaries including Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Tamale South; Solomon Boar, former North East Regional Minister and former MP for Bunkpurugu Constituency and Joseph Louknaan, the DCE for Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District.

0thers were Prof. Prosper Laari, the Chairman of the 47th BISU Congress, Abednego Bandim, MP for Bunkpurugu Constituency among others.

Reporting by Fred Dzakpata in Accra

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