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Gambia Reports 89 Suspected Cases of Kush, 4 Fatalities

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Photo From The Press Briefing

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The National Taskforce on Drug and Substance Abuse revealed to the media, on Thursday, May 9, 2024, that a total of 89 suspected cases of Kush had been reported across various healthcare facilities in the Gambia, with four resulting in fatalities.The taskforce made this announcement during a press briefing at the Medical Store in Kotu, aiming to provide an update on government efforts to combat Kush smuggling and usage in the country.

Mr. Musa Camara, Regional Director of Health Services, informed the media that among the suspected cases, ranging from 14 to 58 years old, 87 were male and 2 were female. The reported cases predominantly originated from Serekunda Health Center, Banjulinding Health Center, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, and Kanifing General Hospital.

Appealing to the public, Mr. Camara urged communities, families, and opinion leaders to assist in combating drug abuse, particularly among youth cohorts, emphasizing vigilance, especially in border communities.

“We have a total of 89 suspected cases who reported to our health facility level, and their age range is 14–58 years, who were suspected of using the drug or substance. 87 out of this number were males, and 2 were females. And out of a total of 89 cases, 4 have died,” Mr. Musa Camara, Regional Director of Health Services, revealed to the media. 

“These are the areas where the cases have been reported. We have many facilities, but these are the areas where the data emanated from. So, we want to appeal to the general public to help us in the fight against suspected drug and substance abuse among the youth cohorts. We want to also put across to all the families, especially the influences and opinion leaders, at the community level to be vigilant in complementing the government and its partners’ efforts in the fight against drugs and substances, especially for communities that are living around the border,” Mr. Camara said.

Commissioner Pa Samba Bojang, Chairman of the Task Force, disclosed that the Drug Law Enforcement Agency recorded 70 cases in the first quarter, detailing the nationalities involved.

“We have 5 ladies involved and in general, we have a total amount of 60 Gambians, 27 Freetonians, 2 Senegalese, 1 Nigerian, and 1 person from Guinea-Conakry. All these cases are being processed, and some of them have already been mentioned in court. Some of them are about to be mentioned, and that is for the interdiction from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency level,” Commissioner Bojang told the Journalists.

Highlighting the ongoing threat of Kush in the Gambia, Commissioner Bojang stressed the importance of collective action, emphasizing the continued existence of Kush and its detrimental impact on the youth.

“We can only make differences when we work collectively today. The figures are dropping, but that does not mean that it does not exist. Kush is still in the town. We share information, and all of us are victims, directly or indirectly. Because if you feel like my brother is involved in smoking Cannabis, the drug has a circle level if he is involved in cannabis smoking, if you don’t help him, he will become addicted to it. The next minute, he has to go to another substance. Because he needs additional dosage, and he might end up seeing himself in this Kush,” Commissioner Bojang said. 

Mr. Lamin K Jobarteh, Drug Demand Reduction Officer from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, outlined plans to enhance border security to prevent Kush smuggling, acknowledging its origins in neighboring countries.

“We have our plans to secure all our borders, But you should always remember that in the Gambia, our borders are porous, you can dodge our officials at the borderlines to enter the Gambia and move out, but better still we have more officers now ready than ever. Even we have sister security services who are also ready to support our operations,” Mr Jobarteh told journalists.

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