U.S Convoy, UN agencies commit to join fight against Kush epidemic

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By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Bryan David Hunt and the Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, have expressed their commitment to joining the fight against the Kush epidemic in the country.

Both diplomats expressed their commitment last Tuesday at the Bintunmani International Conference Hall during the town hall meeting to discuss the state of the Kush epidemic in the country.

Making a comment at the event, Ambassador Hunt said there has not been much progress in the fight against Kush over the past six years because the country does not understand the composition and the component of the kind of drug they are dealing with.

He said the country does not understand especially how the drug is being manufactured and the component used, noting that trying to understand those basic information will help government to put strategies in place to fight the Kush drug.

He said information is needed and education is key in the fight, adding that Kush is dangerous and that government needs to be educating young people about the basic fact on the dangers of the drug.

He further noted that the Kush drug issue requires a long-term integrated strategy, stating  that as development partners they were not looking for a single solution in the fight, but rather a long-term integrated strategy to address the mental health issues that are affecting the country’s young population.

He further stated that they were looking at how to increase the capacity of the law enforcement institutions to deal with those complicated investigations.

Acting UN Resident Coordinator, who doubles as the UNFPA Country Representative to Sierra Leone, Nadia Rasheed, said the moment was critical for such town hall meeting, to enable stakeholders dialogue about the Kush epidemic in the country.

She said the Kush epidemic is a complex and devastating issue because it is robbing the health of young people, robbing them of their lives, robbing the communities of its potential youth and devastating their families.

She noted that it would be critical to have a comprehensive response to the issue and a response that will support the root cause, support prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and one that will support law enforcement.

She further emphasised on the need for data and research for better understanding of the issue that will help to tackle the drivers, the strength and the impact of the Kush drug in the country.

She noted that public awareness and community mobilisation is also important in the fight.

She further re-echoed the commitment of the UN family in Sierra to supporting the government in the fight against the deadly drug.

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