The fight against increasing use of alcohol and hard drugs by the nation’s youth has received added momentum with the inauguration of the “Peer Educators Brigade” by the National Youth Authority (NYA).
Its members would deepen the engagement with various stakeholders – educational institutions, identified youth groups, religious organizations, traditional authorities and civil society, to provide protection for the young people.
They would additionally provide counselling services and assist to reintegrate former alcohol and drug addicts into the society.
On hand to formally inaugurate the Brigade in Kumasi was Mr. Pius Esinam Hadzie, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports.
He described as deeply troubling the high rate of substance abuse by the youth and said this had its own socio-economic challenges to the country.
He therefore called for strong backing for the Brigade to help everybody to appreciate the dangers posed to both the individual and the society in general, by the misuse of hard drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.
He added that more needed to be done to pull the youth away from the path of self-destruction.
The Deputy Minister applauded the NYA Ashanti Regional Office for the initiative and pledged the support of the ministry.
Mr. George Orwell Amponsah, the Regional Director of the Authority, said the Brigade would receive technical training from a team of professionals from the Psychiatry Department of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and Ghana Health Service (GHS).
He added that a special fund was being created to support it to effectively carry out its activities achieve the intended outcomes.
He suggested that proceeds from the sale of property belonging to convicted drug peddlers and traffickers were used to fund drugs prevention campaigns and youth development programmes.