INDIGO Engages School Kids On Drug Abuse & Violence

By Mackie M. Jalloh

At a workshop held at Beccles Davies Hall, Gloucester Street in Freetown, on Saturday 19th November 2022, the Program Coordinator of INDIGO Centre For Justice, Sheila Driscol, told this medium in an exclusive interview that the reason for holding the workshop is to let these school going kids know about the danger of drug abuse and its repercussions on society, as well as the consequences of facing trial in a Court of Law.

Sheila disclosed that a lot of recent postings on social media has revealed the alarming rate of drug abuse in the country, and as an organization that deals with justice and desirous of having a secure and law abiding society, they felt compelled to engage these kids, so as to get them to know about the danger of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. She furthered that it is alarming to see young men and boys being taken over by drugs. She furthered that the choice of the topic social impact of drug abuse is as a result of what is happening to the youths. She maintained that because of the abuse of drugs, young people become lawless and are destroyed. She stressed that it is no secret that drug abuse is destroying the youths, and the engagement with school going kids is to catch them when they are young. They dilated on the legal consequences of drug abuse on the lives of young people. She maintained that being an addict of drug abuse, the situation becomes dangerous, as the victims find it very hard to stop, thus this meeting is to explain to the kids that drug abuse is not good for them, and they are afr5aid for their lives. She furthered that many of these kids know what is happening with drug abuse, as they have access through their phones about the posts on social media.

In her keynote address, Madam Amanda Johnson explained to the school kids that drug abuse is dangerous and that they should avoid them. She also recalled the effect of drug abuse on young people, stating that when they are under the influence of drugs, they lose control of their senses and often do things that are irresponsible. In most cases they end up becoming violent, resulting in injuries and deaths. She furthered that when the youths are under the influence of drugs, they often have a false sense of who they are, and invariably resort to doing despicable things. She warned that the law is clear on many of the offences that youths commit, and some of the prison term goes up to 25 years or life imprisonment. She encouraged the youths to avoid drugs, so as not to fall foul of the law.

Legal Practitioner, Ms. Ayesha Munu Esq. told the audience that there are various sections in the law that will send the perpetrator of violence for long prison terms. She noted that even refusing to take a breath test to determine the level of alcohol in one’s system, is an offence. She explained that the prison facility was designed to house some 1,000 inmates, but now it is overcrowded, and has over 2,000 inmates. She pleaded with her audience to avoid any act that will take them to prison or the CID or any police station, adding that being kept in prison for 20 years will take away 20 years of their lives, and when they come out of prison, they will have to start life all over again. She explained that if a suspect in his or her teens is convicted of wounding, causing grievous bodily harm, there is the likelihood that that person may spend some 10 or more years in jail, and in the eveny that that kids has not taken the WASSCE, his future is doomed, as when he comes out of prison, he will have to start schooling again, whilst all his friends had gone ahead in their academic pursuit. She recounted the various offences that are related to drug abuse or substance abuse, like wounding in section 8 of the Criminal Procedures Act, which, a smart lawyer prosecuting such matter can use to send a suspect for some 20 years or more for simply wounding. She admonished young people to desist from taking drugs, as it has the potential to destroy their future and land them in jail.

Other speakers made similar exposures and admonished the audience to stay away from drugs and live better lives. They called on the kids to educate their friends about the dangers of drug abuse and it consequences. They promised to hold another program where they will deal with the addicts and try to show them how to get out of addiction. A question and answer session climaxed the meeting.

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