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New coalition in the fight against drugs – local NGO leads the way

New coalition in the fight against drugs – local NGO leads the way

Local NGO Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and Development in Sierra Leone (FDID-SL) has joined hands with UNIPSIL, the British High Commission and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation to take the war against drugs to the airwaves over Sierra Leone.

Seize the Chance is the name of a hard-hitting programme produced by veteran journalist Claudia Anthony and her team at SLBC. Working closely with Hindowa Saidu and his activist colleagues at FDID-SL, Ms Anthony has come up with an hour of facts and music designed to appeal to young people who are deemed to be most at risk of falling prey to drugs.

“We wanted to make a programme that would grab younger listeners. It’s not easy for them to find out the facts about drugs so this is their opportunity. That’s why we called it Seize the Chance – now they can learn what they need to know about the dangers.”

In Seize the Chance listeners will hear voices that aren’t normally heard on radio.  “For us it was important to tell the real story of drugs and their impact. We could only do that by giving a voice to the people we meet everyday on the streets.” said Hindowa Saidu. Several of the people we meet in the course of the programme first encountered drugs when they were barely into their teens.  Then there’s the compelling story of the young man whose addiction led him to rob innocent passersby of their mobile phones and handbags.  He even confessed to stabbing someone.

Mr Saidu is dismayed  that adults do not seem concerned by the situation. “Everyday, somewhere in Freetown, a young person is tempted to try drugs. We are especially worried by the growing use of marijuana or jamba amongst women, including young girls. Another evil trend is where politicians exploit young people by handing out drugs and alcohol in order to get these youngsters to do their dirty work for them. We need to be talking about this more.”

Seize the Chance can be heard on SLBC Radio 100FM on Saturday 25th June at 11pm and repeated on subsequent evenings. Copies of the programme may be obtained by contacting FDID-SL.

Every year on 26th June the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organises the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as part of its global campaign to raise awareness of the harm that drugs can do to individuals and communities. For more information log onto www.unodc.org where a number of valuable resources can be found, including the latest copy of the World Drugs Report.

For further information:

Hindowa  E. Saidu  Executive Director, FDID-SL      076 804 066

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