Editorial: Vulnerability Of Prisons To Illicit Drugs Remains A Grave Concern

Illicit drug use is a considerable problem in prisons worldwide. The vulnerability of the prisons to illicit drugs and crime remains a serious concern. The flow of drugs into prisons brings with it other forms of crime and undermines security, health and control of an already overcrowded and fragile environment.

In Ghana, the number of individuals incarcerated for drug related offences has increased from 7.15% of total prisoner population in 2011 to 11.10% in 2015. It is an open secret that Prison officers are complicit in the smuggling of illicit drugs into the prisons and this is a worrying concern.

The Chronicle is, therefore, happy about a story published by the Graphiconline.com that a nine-member team from the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), in collaboration with 20 operations officers of the Ghana Prisons Service, embarked on a security search at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.

The exercise, which took place on Sunday, April 14, 2024 was to find and retrieve narcotic drugs from the facility. But at the end of the search, no narcotic drug was retrieved in and around the facility.

The NACOC officers went to the prison facility, together with five security dogs. The search was conducted on inmates, cells, workshops, classrooms, church, mosque, hospital and every area that inmates could have access to.

It was also extended to the outer perimeter wall of the prison facility, in search of any hidden narcotic drug. The sniffer dogs were released to the cells and every area of the facility, but no single narcotic drug was detected.

The Chronicle, first of all, commends the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) and the Ghana Prisons Service for embarking on such an exercise. This collaborative effort to search for and retrieve narcotic drugs reflects a proactive approach to tackling drug-related challenges in the country.

The Chronicle aligns itself with the motive of the exercise, which was to ensure that narcotic drugs did not find their way into the prison environment. The positive outcome of the exercise speaks to the effectiveness of the collaboration and the commitment of NACOC and the Ghana Prisons Service to maintaining a drug-free prison environment.

It is very important to recognise the significance of such operations in safeguarding the well-being of inmates and promoting a safe and secure correctional system. Drug use, especially narcotics, poses serious health risks and can contribute to negative behaviors among individuals. By preventing the entry of these substances into prisons, authorities can help mitigate the potential harm they may cause to inmates and staff alike.

The public health impact of narcotic drug use is a reminder of the broader societal implications of drug abuse. The signs and symptoms associated with drug use, such as anxiety, paranoia, and mental instability, highlight the urgent need for preventive measures and interventions.

While commending NACOC and the Prisons Service for their collaborative efforts, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of continuity in such operations. Drug interdiction exercises should not be treated as one-off events, but rather as part of ongoing efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse. Regular inspections and searches within prison facilities can serve as deterrents and contribute to maintaining a drug-free environment.

Additionally, it is advisable for prison wardens to remain vigilant, especially during visitation periods. Thorough searches of visitors can help prevent the smuggling of contraband, including narcotic drugs, into prisons. Implementing strict security measures and protocols ensures the integrity of correctional facilities and enhances safety for everyone within them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here