The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has ventured into the entertainment industry and released a music video dubbed “Say No to Drug Abuse (Daabi)” #stopdrugabuse. This was made possible through its partnering with The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) to bring the project to life.
The music video features some leading artists such as Kuami Eugene, Article Wan, Bogo Blay, Eno Barony, Amerado and Yaa Yaa. It was filmed with the intent of communicating the dire effects of substance misuse by utilizing the very medium that has often been used to portray this vice. Involving some key players in the music entertainment industry showcases not only the FDA’s relentlessness in fulfilling its mandate of public safety but also its desire to go the extra mile with its message by teaming up with relevant bodies.
Substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of use of any substance that persists despite adverse social, psychological, or medical consequences. The pattern may be intermittent with or without tolerance and physical dependence.
Considering the observed trends of substance abuse which reflects predominantly in the festive season, the December release of the music video is timely and intended to trigger public discussions on drug use and abuse. The lyrics, musical interlude and pictorial depictions embedded in the video positions it as a promising Christmas banger for the season.
In this technological age, audio-visual communication spiralled through social media platforms tends to be far reaching and exerts a greater impact on its audience. The FDA intends to leverage on this audio-visual advantage and the far-reaching network of the entertainment industry to strongly communicate the economic, psychosocial and above all the health consequences of substance abuse. The concomitant effects of substance abuse are vast and include a diminished immune system, infectious diseases, cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal issues, and ultimately death.
Globally, the number of people using drugs is projected to rise by 11 per cent by 2030 because of demographic changes alone and low-income countries account for the lion’s share of this rise (World Drug Report, 2021). The number of drug users in Africa is projected to rise in the next decade by as much as 40 percent. This is because the population in Africa is relatively younger, and drug use is higher among young people than older people. Moreover, the population of Africa is estimated to grow more quickly than that of other regions.
In Ghana, various trends of substance abuse have been identified. The Ghana Youth Tobacco Survey reports that 0.4% of boys, and 1.7% of girls in Ghana smoke shisha (Ghana Youth Tobacco Survey, 2017). The outcomes of an FDA-led community baseline survey to assess the current trends in substance use within the Accra Metropolis corroborates this observation of increasing shisha use. Furthermore, the FDA reported abuse trends consisting of cocktails of tramadol and energy drinks, and a myriad of other related preparations. However, after utilising the effectiveness of public education amongst the population, a decreased rate was realized especially with the use of tramadol. This demonstrates a positive impact of interventions such as routine public education on substance abuse and more than ever gives credence to the educative potential of the music video.
In the spirit of the joy, energy and excitement of the festive season, the FDA is contributing this music video to the December music charts. The regulatory authority is looking forward to a collaborative effort from all stakeholders that includes the media, political leaders, you and I, to drive this song, not only to the top 10 singles of December but more importantly, spread far and wide, the message of the video. Stop Substance Abuse Now!