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Continuous surge of substance abuse in the Upper West Region


By Mark Smith

Mental health cases, as a result of alcohol abuse and abuse of other psychoactive substances continue to surge in the Upper West Region. Between 2018 and 2020. The Regional Mental Health Unit diagnosed and treated more than 700 people suffering from mental disorders due to the abuse of these substances.

Figures from the Mental Health Unit indicate that as of August 2021, close to 400 people with such disorders have been treated in the region. Acting Regional Mental Health Coordinator, Sylvester Basagnia said the situation in the various communities could be worse as a greater percentage of these conditions are not reported to health facilities.

Mark Smith reports that Mental Disorders due to Alcohol use and the application of other psychoactive substances are among the most prevalent Mental Health Conditions in the Upper West Region.

The Acting Regional Mental Health Coordinator, Sylvester Basagnia said most persons who suffer these conditions are aged between 15 and 45 years. He blamed the continuous use of psychoactive substances on the increasing curiosity among the youth and ignorance of the effect of such substances on the body. On the issue of alcohol abuse, Mr. Basagnia mentioned the plurality of drinking bars and the ever-growing number of varieties of alcoholic beverages as contributing to the problem.

Mr. Basagnia said once people begin to abuse substances, their productivity dwindles.

“They use work hours to search and consume such products,” he said.

The Acting Regional Mental Health Coordinator encouraged parents and families to create good support systems to prevent the children from experimenting with alcohol and psychoactive substances.

“Refer all persons suffering from mental health disorders to the health facilities for proper treatment,” according to Sylvester Basagnia.

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