Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a proactive move to combat the rising issue of substance abuse among the country’s youth, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Social Welfare, Madam Melrose Karminty, launched the Inter-agency Government Quick Action on Substance Abuse. The launch took place at the ministry’s conference room and was attended by various key stakeholders from different government departments.
Addressing the purpose of the launch, the chairperson of the event, Madam Mariatu Bangura, highlighted the alarming increase in drug and substance abuse among the nation’s youth. She stressed the importance of promptly addressing the issue, emphasizing that it could have severe consequences for future generations if left unattended.
To tackle this challenge, the government has established an inter-agency task force dedicated to addressing substance abuse. The task force’s primary objectives are to identify individuals struggling with addiction, provide rehabilitation, and reintegrate them into society to become productive citizens. It aims to work closely with communities, assess the areas affected, and offer skill development and income-generating activities to support those affected by addiction.
Minister Melrose Karminty underscored the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that drug and substance abuse has been a persistent issue in the country. She highlighted President Bio’s deep concern about the state of the nation and his commitment to tackling the problem. The Minister emphasized the need to provide meaningful support to individuals who have undergone treatment for substance abuse.
“The Ministry of Social Welfare is collaborating with the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to identify victims of substance abuse and implement rehabilitation programs to reintegrate them into their respective communities. We have 140 social workers across the country providing psycho-social counselling, with 30 workers trained to assess the needs of individuals held in police custody and correctional centres. These individuals will be released to the ministry for rehabilitation and social care,” disclosed Madam Karminty.
Declaring the immediate commencement of the provision of psycho-social aid to individuals in custody as part of the government’s commitment to combat drug abuse in the country, the Minister pointed out that this initiative aims to educate them about the harmful effects of substance abuse, offering them support to recovery. PSN/5/10/2023