By Mamudou Jallow
More than 30 household heads and youths from Dippa Kunda on Thursday, March 12 2020h converged at the offices of their KMC Ward Councilor for a meeting meant to raise awareness on the ever-increasing drug menace besetting Gambian society.
Speaking on the role of community coalitions in combating drug abuse, Alasana Drammeh, The President of the Family Therapy Association of The Gambia (FTAG) told parents and youths that the meeting was aimed at devising strategies for curbing the onset of drug abuse within communities so that children will have the necessary space to grow up as responsible adults of society.
To achieve this, Drammeh noted that it is necessary for communities to form groups known as “community coalitions” with the sole aim of developing and carrying out evidence-based strategies to help reduce drug user rates within their neighbourhoods.
Mr. Drammeh suggested that the collection of accurate and reliable data relating to the levels of drug consumption in communities as well as the identification of the hotspots where drugs are procured or consumed within communities will come in handy in the fight to curb the menace.
Mr. Drammeh urged the community to devise plans that will bring together youths, parents, the Government and local and international organizations on a unified platform aimed at combating drug abuse within communities.
Speaking on the role of the youths in drug prevention, Mamudou Jallow, the Secretary-General of the Family Therapy Association of the Gambia said that for the fight against drug and substance abuse to be effective, it is necessary for the youths themselves to take ownership and lead the narrative.
To get the youths at the forefront in the fight to eradicate drug and substance abuse, Jallow suggested that they first needed to be armed with the right knowledge regarding drugs and intoxicants as well as their effect on individuals, families, and societies. Jallow also suggested that communities must work together to name and shame the adults within them who are bringing in the harmful substances that are at the brink of destroying our communities.
For his part, Mr. Saihou Drammeh of FTAG urged the gathering to include women in the fight against drugs and harmful substances. Drammeh warned that the rate at which children are being trapped by the drug menace is alarming, and therefore required serious strategies at the community level to combat the ugly phenomena.
Other speakers included Momodou Drammeh, Basirou Kaloga, and Muhammed Drammeh who all expressed their appreciation for the foresight in the part of the Family Therapy Association of The Gambia (FTAG) in organizing what they collectively referred to as a timely forum to discuss a very pertinent issue confronting the community.
These events were conducted two in two communities and the plan was for it to be broadened to at least conduct these strategies in about 60% of the Gambia communities,
But however, we wanted to share the said project with WFAD this way we could partner with them in order for it to be implemented across the country