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General News
Students score highest in drug abuse in 2006 2/22/2007
Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - Out of a total of 731 inmates admitted to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital last year for drug-related cases, as high as 690 of them were students from first, second and tertiary institutions. A fact sheet on drug-related patients, which the Ghana News Agency obtained from the hospital, indicated that, of the total number of 690 students recorded, 388 were from first cycle institutions, 265 from second cycle institutions and the remaining 37 from the tertiary level. Forty-one illiterates added up to make the total of 731 inmates admitted and treated.

It also indicated that 614 of the inmates were young persons between age 15 and 40; 86 inmates between the ages of 41 and 50; 29 were between the ages of 51 and 60 and only two inmates were between the ages of 61 and 70.

Mr Lawrence Essuman, Acting Head of the Electro-Convulsive Therapy Unit of the Hospital, told the GNA that students and young people below age 40 years accounted for about 90 per cent of the drug-related cases recorded last year.

He said most of the cases involved the use of multiple drugs, a combination of heroine, alcohol, cocaine and pethidine. He said 511 inmates were found to have abused cannabis alone, 164 abused alcohol, 11 accounted for cocaine abuse, one abused pethidine and 44 used multiple drugs.

He pointed to peer pressure as the primary cause of the high abuse of drugs among students and urged students to stay away from unproductive friendship and concentrate on their books.

Mr Essuman noted that last year''s number of inmates represented a decrease from that of 2005, which stood at 747, saying that rampant strike actions in the health sector last year did not allow families to keep patients in the Hospital.

In terms of the regional dynamics, the Greater Accra Region recorded the highest number of inmates of 574, Eastern Region 48, Ashanti Region had 44, Central Region, 29 and Volta Region 15. The rest were Brong Ahafo Region 12, Northern Region, five and the Upper East and Upper West Regions three and one respectively.

Mr Essuman, who is also the Vice-President of the Psycho-Mental Health Foundation, a non-governmental organization, however, pointed out cases in the Northern Region were suspected to be higher but most of them were not reported and hence were not captured in the statistics.

He appealed to families who neglected patients even after their treatment at the psychiatric hospitals to stop the practice in order to ease the financial burden on the hospital, saying the stigmatization and rejection did not help treated patients. 21 Feb. 07Source:

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