Habib T. Kamara,Chairman of Sierra Leone Alcohol Policy,on May 24th, 2023, expressed concerns about the escalating drug consumption in the country and its potential repercussions on the upcoming election.
Speaking to journalists following FORUT’s annual stakeholders meeting in Freetown, Kamara highlighted the likelihood of a significant number of young people being unable to vote due to drug-related issues, particularly associated with substances like Kush.
Kamara emphasized the need to sensitize and educate the youth about the adverse effects of harmful substances if they wish to exercise their voting rights. He referred to research indicating that drug users, particularly those resorting to injections, face heightened health risks, including the transmission of diseases such as AIDS through needle sharing.
Moreover, Kamara raised concerns about the potential exploitation of the prevailing demand for drugs like Kush by politicians aiming to disenfranchise young voters in rival political strongholds. He explained that politicians might distribute such substances to young individuals they perceive as supporters of opposing parties, thereby incapacitating them during the election process.
Shifting focus to Sierra Leone’s recently introduced Alcohol Policy, Chairman Kamara underscored its objectives in addressing the widespread availability of substances, taking into account factors like children, gender, and overall development.
He elaborated on one of the policy’s recommendations, advocating for restrictions on children’s access to alcohol and calling for more stringent regulations on liquor sales, as he believed not everyone should have the privilege to sell alcoholic beverages.