The Mental Health Authority, MHA, has expressed concerns over the increase in drug-related mental cases reported at the country’s health institutions in the year 2017.
Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, revealed that 30 per cent of the 300,000 cases that were reported at mental health facilities in the year under review were drug related.
He stated that alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and heroine ranked high on the list of the myriad drugs that were reported at the Out Patients Department.
Speaking at the ongoing two-day inter-agency consultative forum on strategies for Countering Counterfeit Drugs and substance abuse held in Accra, he lamented the prevalence of drug-related cases with no end in sight.
Dr Osei warned that the spate of the situation is serious and a major problem, adding, that the country was sitting on a time bomb “if government does not act” immediately.
According to him, some drug addicts had reasons for abusing drugs, as many depend on such medications to ease pain, enjoy leisure time, gain energy to work and subsequently become addicted to them in the process.
He however warned culprits of the dangers resulting from substance abuse including cardiac arrest and brain disorders.
He cautioned health officers against issuing drugs to their colleagues to ease pain without prescription.
He added that Methadone also known as Dolophine are mostly abused by people who are expected to know better.
The CEO of Mental Health Authority called for the amendment of the existing laws by instituting punitive measures such as confiscating assets of dealers in counterfeit drugs.
According to him, assets sold could be used to resource institutions mandated to fight counterfeit drugs and substance abuse in the country.
The forum brought together 50 agencies including personnel from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) the Media, Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Ghana Health Service, Ghana Prisons Service, the Judiciary among others.