Liberia commits to fighting Drugs and Substance Abuse – As Multi-Sector Committee identifies Rehabilitation Center in Bentol

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Dr. Louise M. Kpoto, Minister of Health and Chair, leads the committee, showing proactive measures in addressing drug issues.

The chair of the committee told reporters Monday, February 19, 2024, that her team is carefully considering factors such as accessibility, suitability of the location, potential impact on the community, and resources needed for the smooth running of the facility.

Dr. Kpoto said the national steering committee, with the support of President Joseph N. Boakai, will endeavor to implement evidence-based practices in setting up the rehabilitation center that would significantly contribute to combating substance abuse and supporting individuals in recovery.

One of the members of the multi-sectorial committee against drugs and substance abuse is the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), headed by Col. Abraham Kromah, who told reporters that the enrollment in the mental restructuring program will be exclusively voluntary, the coding process is ongoing at the moment, a move that will help them embrace positive change.

Col. Kromah however informed the journalists that defiant substance users categorized as regular clients, who would be found loitering in street corners would be arrested and taken to the treatment center in Bentol City.

“Drug users arrested in ghettos will be processed and turned over to the criminal justice system for prosecution”, he noted.

The LDEA boss however stressed the urgent need to rehabilitate substance users because according to him, 20% of the Country’s population is illegally using drugs.

According to the law enforcement officer, technical and security mechanisms are being mobilized for the protection of the facility and surrounding communities.

Col. Kromah is quoted as saying, “I am committed to enforcing the drug law of Liberia to the core”.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Cole Bangalore a member of the committee, told journalists that a more sustainable approach to combating drugs does not only focus on apprehending substance users but also on capacitating them to be more useful in society.

Minister Bangalore noted that rehabilitation and capacity-building programs, which lead to employment and meaningful contributions to society, are in line with the government’s agenda led by the Chief Executive, Dr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

“We are working out modalities to ensure that the process is implemented immediately. The President has said this is his priority, so we will work in line with the President’s priority and his concern about these young people so that they can become useful citizens,” said Minister Bangalore.

Dr. Moses Ziah, III, a Psychiatrist providing technical support in the area of mental health, calls for publicity and educational awareness to make sure other school-going kids who are abusing drugs will stay at home and school and be treated or come for treatment.

The mental restructuring process, according to Dr. Ziah, is just a tiny component of the bigger picture lying ahead to be collectively tackled.

Marlee Yekeh, a technical support team member, believes that at-risk youth are not zogoos but young, talented, smart, and resilient people who are abusing drugs and need a rehabilitation program that will bring about change.

I see them as my brothers, sisters, loved ones, and myself, Madam Yekeh stressed.

She continued that this would help reform the youth and make them productive. Those abusing drugs are productive citizens who need the support of the citizens to help solve the problem.

The President of the Republic of Liberia, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, remains committed to fighting drugs and making more drug users useful to society, Marline Yekeh reaffirmed

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