Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Sierra Leone declares emergency over drug abuse

President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021   -  
Copyright © africanews
Hannah McKay/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone has declared a national emergency after increased cases of substance abuse. President Julius Maada Bio's decree Thursday follows an explosive rise in the use of a synthetic drug known as Kush.

The drug which is highly addictive is a mix of marijuana, tentanyl and tramadol, a powerful pain killer. Kush has been blamed for causing hundreds of deaths and making scores of users mentally sick.

It first appeared in the west African country around four years ago. The drug is also widely used in neighboring Liberia.

President Bio said a taskforce would be set up to implement a multi-pronged strategy to combat drug and substance abuse.

Medical workers welcomed the president's order.

Scarred by a long civil war which ended in 2002, and a devastating Ebola epidemic eight years ago, dimaond-rich Sierra Leone has struggled to grow its economy and youth unemployment remains high.

View more