Drinking bar operators in the Sunyani West District have expressed concern about the high demand for a local liquor popularly known as ‘laka’ among teenagers.
‘Laka’ is a mixture of akpeteshie (a local gin), Indian hemp and ginger.
According to them, demand for the substance is high among adolescent boys and girls, and called on the police to arrest the sellers of ‘laka’.
The operators raised the concern at a day’s orientation workshop on adolescent sexual reproductive health at Nsoatre.
It was jointly organised by the Sunyani West District Directorate of Health and the Palladium Group, a health centered international non-governmental organisation (NGO).
With support from the Department for International Development (DFID), the workshop was aimed at sensitising participants on the effects and symptoms of substance in-take and abuse among teenagers.
Most of the operators who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the mixture is commonly sold at Odumase, Chiraa, Fiapre and Nsoatre.
They explained that the alcoholic percentage of the substance “is very high but most of the youth are addicted to it.”
Eva Aryee, the Sunyani West District Director of Health, appealed to the police to, as a matter of urgency, intensify patrols to clampdown on the perpetrators (those who are secretly selling the illegal substance).
She advised the concerned operators to provide information on those sellers of the drink for their arrest by the police.
Mrs Aryee expressed concern about drug abuse and alcoholism among the youth in the area, which according to her, had also led to the increase in the rate of teenage pregnancy and school dropouts.
She said from January to June this year, the directorate recorded about 222 cases of teenage pregnancies, and that, most of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 16 years.