CONGO: Health minister urges increased efforts to fight illicit drugs
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
BRAZZAVILLE, 26 June (PLUSNEWS) - The minister of health of the Republic of Congo, Alain Moka, has called on the government, civil society and the public to better coordinate efforts to fight illicit drugs.
In a statement issue on Thursday to coincide with the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Moka urged that such efforts be focused on public education, psychological treatment of drug addicts and reintegration of recovering addicts into normal daily life.
Denouncing the harm to people caused by illicit drugs, he urged all Congolese who had become addicts to acknowledge their situation and to seek professional treatment.
He also called on the public, the youth in particular, to say "no to drugs, yes to health and sustainable development of our society".
He said illnesses that were directly attributable to illicit drug use included cancer of the lungs, throat, lips and tongue; mental problems; tuberculosis; and HIV/AIDS.
Moka said the situation in Congo had reached "worrying proportions" due largely to sociopolitical unrest that plagued the country in the past decade.
Among those most affected, he said, were unemployed youths, students, police, street children, prostitutes and bus drivers.
He added that the problem of drug addiction led to other problems, as well, including rape, armed robbery, murder and suicide.
In Congo, the regions of Plateaux and Pool were areas where cultivation of illicit drugs, particularly hemp, were most prominent, he said.