Rising Kush Addiction: Sierra Leone Faces Pressure to Declare National Emergency

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Sierra Leone is under increasing pressure to declare a State of emergency as the Kush epidemic continues to escalate, with concerned citizens and experts urging President Dr. Julius Maada Bio to take decisive action. The crisis, fuelled by the rapid spread of Kush addiction among the nation’s youth, has reached a critical point necessitating immediate intervention.

Kush, a dangerous drug that mirrors the effects of cannabis, has wreaked havoc on Sierra Leone’s young population, becoming readily available and enticing due to its affordability. The surge in addiction rates has sounded alarm bells, prompting urgent calls for measures to address this pressing issue before it spirals further out of control.

According to Dr. Sartie Kanneh, the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, shocking statistics reveal that out of 2,955 patients admitted to Kissy Psychiatric Hospital for drug abuse in 2023, a staggering 1,865 cases were related to Kush, predominantly affecting individuals aged between 20 to 34 years.

The devastating consequences of Kush addiction extend beyond individual users, posing a grave threat to the nation’s stability and prosperity. Urgent action is imperative, as highlighted by the recent arrest of Juliet Kamara, wife of notorious drug lord, Abdul Kamara, alias Bigitel. The crackdown on drug dealers by the Police Harbour Division, resulting in the seizure of illicit drugs from Juliet Kamara’s residence, underscores the gravity of the situation.

Efforts to combat the Kush epidemic have intensified, with law enforcement agencies conducting operations such as “Operation Kush Must Go” to target peddlers across various communities. The arrest of Juliet Kamara and the ongoing crackdown signify the Government’s commitment to tackling the scourge of drug trafficking and addiction.

The outcry over the deaths of 32 individuals reportedly linked to drug abuse, buried in undignified mass graves, has galvanized citizens across political lines, demanding swift and decisive action from the Government. Activists, like Amina Sesay, stress the urgency of implementing concrete measures to address the crisis and save the nation’s youth from its clutches.

Critics have voiced concerns about the impunity enjoyed by drug traffickers, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive strategy targeting both the supply and demand sides of the issue. As Sierra Leone grapples with the Kush epidemic, the declaration of a state of national emergency emerges as a crucial step in safeguarding the future of its youth and ensuring a healthier society for generations to come.


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