The Rising Epidemic: 52 Men Remanded for Narcotics Possession and Its Implications for Sierra Leone’s Youth

Magistrate Abu Bakarr Bangura
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News
The Rising Epidemic: 52 Men Remanded for Narcotics Possession and Its Implications for Sierra Leone's Youth

On August 23, 2023, 52 men were held under remand following their appearance before Magistrate Abu Bakarr Bangura at Waterloo, in the Headquarters Judicial District Courts. The individuals stand accused of having received narcotics, specifically ‘Kush’ and marijuana, and frequenting places known for drug consumption. These offenses contravene Section 48 (1) of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act of 2001.

According to legal representatives, a raid conducted on August 20, 2023, in the Waterloo Judicial District led to the arrests. Some of the accused admitted guilt, while others contested the charges. They were remanded for further court appearances slated for September 4, 2023.

A National Crisis: Drug Use Among Sierra Leone’s Youth

Magistrate Bangura noted the increasing societal peril posed by ‘Kush’ and other narcotics. “The issue of ‘Kush’ has become a serious national threat to the potential human resources of our country,” he stated. This highlights the escalating concern over drug use among Sierra Leonean youth—a demographic that makes up a significant portion of the nation’s future labor force and intellectual capital.

Legal Repercussions and Deterrence

In a parallel case involving 22 individuals charged with similar offenses, 16 pleaded guilty and received two-year prison sentences. These cases serve as a legal deterrent, emphasizing the country’s commitment to enforcing its drug policies. However, critics argue that the punitive approach may not address the root causes of drug abuse.

The education deficit and parental role

Sierra Leone faces a dichotomy in education, with limited awareness programs about drug abuse. Inadequate education, coupled with poor parenting, contributes to the problem. Parents often lack both the resources and information to educate their children about the dangers of drug use, leaving youth vulnerable to peer pressure and misinformation.

The ripple effects on law and order

The increase in drug-related arrests directly impacts the nation’s law and order, stretching the capabilities of the police force and judiciary. Moreover, the remanding and potential imprisonment of these individuals signifies an added burden on the already-congested prison systems, raising questions about human rights and rehabilitation opportunities.


The remanding of 52 men for narcotics possession is not just a standalone incident but a reflection of a deeper societal issue plaguing Sierra Leone. As Magistrate Bangura aptly mentioned, every Sierra Leonean bears the responsibility of making narcotics less appealing to the country’s youth. Implementing comprehensive drug education, parenting workshops, and community initiatives is paramount for confronting this menace head-on. Only through a multi-pronged strategy can Sierra Leone hope to safeguard its most valuable asset: its youth.

In the ongoing discourse surrounding drug abuse and its ramifications, these cases serve as a cautionary tale, reminding us that the time for proactive measures is now.

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