Data analysis on the impact of illicit drugs in West Africa: The ECOWAS Commission officially launches the WENDU report (2020-2022)
In the context of combating drugs and their consequences in West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in collaboration with and the Enhancing Africa's capacity to respond to transnational organised crime (ENACT), has proceeded to the official launch of the West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) Report in Accra, Ghana on 27 November 2023.
This significant event brought together various participants including WENDU Focal Points, National Offices for combating drugs in ECOWAS member states civil society organisations, and nearly seventy-five online participants including students, researchers, institutes,development partners, and other international organizations interested in drug-related data. The WENDU report offers valuable insights into the statistics and trends on illicit drug supply and use in the West African region.
During the opening ceremony, Dr. SINTIKI Tarfa UGBE, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, on behalf of Prof. Fatou Sow SARR, Commissioner of Human Development and Social Affairs at the ECOWAS Commission, commended the implementers of the Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organised Crime (ENACT) for their support for the WENDU Report. She stressed the importance of this report and the policy brief, which will greatly assist the ECOWAS Commission and its partners in identifying critical areas of drug prevention and control in West Africa that can be supported either as part of their ongoing programs or as new areas for collaboration.
Anna Lixi, the Head of the Governance and Security Section at the EU Delegation to Ghana, congratulated ECOWAS for its efforts in the fight against organized crime through the report and other projects such as OCWAR-T, which is co-funded by the European Union and Germany. She also assured the continuous support of the European Union in the framework of combating drug trafficking and other activities related to transnational organized crime.
Mr. Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh, Director General of the Narcotics Control Commission (NCC) in Ghana, expressed his gratitude to ECOWAS and all the partners who participated in the drafting of this report. He emphasized the need for member states and civil society to use this report after its launch. He also stated that Ghana is committed to working with other ECOWAS member states in the fight against illicit drug trafficking in the region.
The insightful discussions during the event covered the latest estimates and trends concerning drug abuse, drug supply, and the increasing abuse of pharmaceutical opioids.
Emphasis was made on the need to invest in prevention strategies including programme
On stress management for both adults and children.
The official launch event serves as a platform to unveil the West African Epidemiological Network on Drug Use (WENDU) 2020-2022 report. Following the launch, the report and briefing note were released to the public.