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Liberia: Killer ‘Kush Cannabis’ Crisis Takes Root in Monrovia

Liberia: Killer ‘Kush Cannabis’ Crisis Takes Root in Monrovia

Liberia says it’s facing a national health emergency because of widespread use of ‘kush cannabis’, a dangerous new cocktail that includes opioids, among the nation’s youth. Drug seizures over the past year reveal an alarming array of new synthetic psychoactive substances.

Emmanuel Wise Jipoh, New Dawn

1 July 2024 at 10:00:00

This report from New Dawn newspaper in Monrovia, published on 27 June 2024.

Monrovia — The dangerous substance Kush Cannabis is said to be gradually increasing daily in Liberia as one of the most harmful narcotics, killing youths in African countries, reports the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency or LDEA.

What is Kush Cannabis?

'Kush Cannabis' should not be confused with the drug of the same name found in the US, which is a mixture of "an ever-changing host of chemicals" sprayed on plant matter and smoked. Kush in West Africa is quite different; it is a mixture of cannabis, fentanyl, tramadol, formaldehyde and - according to some in Sierra Leone - ground down humans bones.

READ: Sierra Leone: 'Voodoo Kush' putting kids' lives at risk

On Wednesday, 26 June 2024, the LDEA disclosed in its annual report that it had made the highest arrest of the hardcore substance in Liberia, which is at an alarming rate.

According to the LDEA, its latest arrest involved 25,855 kilograms of Kush Cannabis with a street value of US$511,710.00, (636,182,820.00 Liberian dollars).

In October 2022 and early February 2023, the Joint Security of Liberia arrested a stockpile of cocaine valued at US$140 million contained in TRH Trading consigned containers shipped from Brazil.

At a news conference to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking, held at the LDEA headquarters in Fiamah, Monrovia on Wednesday, Officer-In-Charge of the LDEA, Christopher Peters, disclosed the total value of drugs seized from 2023 to 2024 at (US$1,286,976.00).

He detailed that substances seized during the period under review included Kush Cannabis, Marijuana, popularly known as weed, Cocaine, Heroin, Tramadol, Methamphetamine, and Precursor, among others, with the help of partners.

Besides the huge quantity of Kush arrested, O-I-C Peters also detailed other seizures:

  • 5,407 kgs of marijuana, (valued at US$426,868);

  • 2,663.38 kgs of cocaine, (valued at US$143,822)

  • 4,417.76 kgs of heroin (valued at US$198,798)

  • 3,820.3 kilograms of Tramadol, (valued at US$200 000)

  • 243.6 grams of methamphetamine  (valued at US$600), and

  • 2090.4 kilograms of Precursor valued US$300 7680

He highlighted that the fight against drugs remained a serious issue in the country. He said drug abuse and illicit drugs increased crimes and violence, separated families and made children vulnerable while endangering society.

He stressed a need to invest in sustainable prevention to prevent the continued influx of drugs and substance abuse, or else, the situation would undercut the progress of the nation.

Peters called for collective action and a comprehensive approach involving various communities, stakeholders, strategies, and resources in combating drug abuse in this country.

Liberia's Justice Minister and Attorney-General, Cllr. J. Oswald Tweh, on behalf of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, promised the government a holistic approach to combating drugs.

He reaffirmed Liberia's commitment to addressing drug prevention while underscoring that the fight against substance abuse remained a national health emergency.

This year's International Drugs Day was held under the national theme: "Invest in Prevention Today for Healthy Tomorrow".


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