Magistrate in Sierra Leone detains 52 for possessing and taking illegal substance as drugs crisis grows

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 August 2023:

Magistrate Abu Bakarr Bangura of the Waterloo Magistrate’s Court this week remanded fifty-two  accused persons for being in possession of “Kush” and frequenting a place used for the smoking of “Kush” contrary to Section 48(1) of the Pharmacy & Drugs Act 2001.

According to the Judiciary communications unit, the accused were on Sunday, 20th August, 2023, at the Waterloo Judicial District found  in possession of Kush and marijuana. They are also charged with the offence of being in a place used for smoking narcotics.

Sierra Leone’s drugs problem has reached crisis level, with over 60% of young people now estimated to be taking drugs, due to unemployment and lack of work training opportunities.

The government’s policy of arresting without offering any form of therapeutic intervention is clearly not working.

Critics are accusing politicians of fuelling the drugs crisis by offering substance to young people during election rallies to carry out violence against their rivals.

With most adults in the country never undergone any form of therapy after the brutal civil war, many are still suffering from psychosis and trauma.

Several police and military officers too, have become highly dependent on drugs, raising serious concern for the peace, stability and security of the country.

The 52 accused will appear in court on 4th September, 2023.

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