By Ishmael Dumbuya
Civil Society Activist, Matilda Ekan Sonsiama, has noted that Kush affects women similarly as it affects men.
Speaking during the government’s weekly press briefing hosted at Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sonsiama said women are not only taking the drug but are believed to be sellers.
She said that such a development does not send a good signal and urged government to clamp down on traders, with a particular focus on importers, adding that Kush is causing more harm to women in Sierra Leone than men.
“Kush affects our women just as it affects our men. Mainstream media depicts heavy use by men but that does not mean women are not using it. We have a high percentage of women users, and we need to provide the resources to support all of them” she said.
Madam Somsiana called on government not to relent in the fight against Kush and speedily bring perpetrators to book, and thanked the government for hosting the programme in the Krio Language, as the messages are now better placed to reach all and sundry.
There is an alarming increase in the spate of the use of Kush in Sierra Leone with the country’s authority and the United Nations expressing concerns especially because those seeking help are mostly young people who are or have dropped out of school with 73% of them living in urban or peri-urban areas. Many face huge mental health issues or are dying.
The report which covers 2020-2022, shows that marijuana related health cases presented to the Kissy Psychiatric Hospital dropped, while Kush induced cases increased exponentially by more than 2,000% in the same three year period.
While in 2020, only 47 patients presented to the hospital due to use of Kush, that number increased to 1,101 in 2022, accounting for 63% of all mental health cases received at the hospital last year.