Deputy Gender Minister Designate Garmai Tokpah Leads Drugs Awareness Campaign, as Over 720 Students Inspired

By: Sylvester Choloplay

Montserrado County, Liberia – February 3, 2024: In a resolute effort to safeguard the future of Liberian youths, a Liberian female psycho-social counseling Expert and social Scientist is leading a massive drugs awareness campaign across Montserrado and nearby counties of Liberia.

Ms. Garmai Tokpah, Deputy Minister Designate for Children & Social Protection and CEO of Teach Global Foundation International, on Friday, February 2, 2023, spearheaded an interactive and comprehensive one-day drugs awareness program at the Confidence School System in the Fendell Community, Montserrado County.

Addressing over seven hundred (700) attentive students, Ms. Tokpah passionately cautioned the students, most of whom are between 10-17 years old, to be determined and stop hanging out with bad friends who involve themselves in negative peer pressure activities.

She then delved into the dark realities of substance abuse, highlighting the harmful effects of notorious drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and crack cocaine.

With vivid examples, the Liberian social Scientist provided a clear understanding of the consequences of each substance, aiming to empower the students with knowledge to make informed choices.

Emphasizing the crucial role of parents, Ms. Tokpah urged them to be vigilant guardians, actively involved in their children’s lives.

She called for routine checks of backpacks and shoes, disclosing that parental diligence is essential in preventing the detrimental consequences of illicit substances. The Deputy Minister Designate shared personal anecdotes that underscore the importance of strong parental involvement as a protective shield against the pervasive drug nightmare.

The Liberian Deputy Minister Designate also attributed the high rate of high school dropout students across Liberia to the use of acholic substances and drugs taken by some students in grade schools.

“Our students are taking in drugs and even acholic substances and that is why you see the number of dropout students in grade schools continues to increase. This is a serious matter and it is everybody’s business. Thank God that President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has declared drugs as a national health emergency in Liberia”, Madam Tokpah revealed.

Madam Tokpah’s impassioned plea extended beyond the school walls, calling for a unified front against the drug nightmare. She urged collaboration among the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Justice, Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, and other institutions.

Recognizing the multifaceted nature of the challenge, she emphasized the need for a collective, cross-sectoral approach to tackle the deep-rooted issue that has negatively impacted countless young lives.

In an exclusive interview following the awareness program, Ms. Tokpah expressed gratitude to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai for the honor of her designated role. She pledged unwavering commitment to the President’s vision and working in the best interest of the nation.

Meanwhile the Liberian psycho-social counseling Expert also acknowledged Liberian newly elected President, H.E. Joseph Nyuma Boakai, unwavering support in advocating for initiatives that address the pressing societal issues affecting Liberia’s youth.

As a psycho-social counseling Expert, Ms. Tokpah has consistently advocated for a collective effort in the fight against illicit drugs.

Last year, she ardently called for a swift investigation into the proliferation of illicit substances, leading to the seizure of a staggering US$100 million worth of cocaine in Topoe Village. This incident served as a catalyst for her ongoing commitment to raising awareness and driving change in the battle against drug trafficking and abuse.

Addressing teachers, parents, and law enforcement officers, Ms. Tokpah admonished them to join forces in the battle against illicit drugs. She specifically urged parents to be proactive “police” for their children and actively engage in their day-to-day activities to prevent the dire consequences of street upbringing.

Ms. Tokpah’s heartfelt plea resonated with parents, prompting a collective commitment to fostering a safe and drug-free environment for Liberia’s next generation.

Recently, delivering his State of the Nation’s address, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai declared the drug issue as a national health emergency, announcing comprehensive testing initiatives for citizens, starting with himself and his Vice President, Hon. Jeremiah Koung. H

In the aftermath of the impactful awareness program, numerous students expressed heartfelt thanks to Ms. Tokpah for her initiative, acknowledging the potential life-changing positive impact on the youth of Liberia.

The Deputy Minister Designate’s unwavering commitment to the fight against illicit drugs stands as a beacon of hope for a brighter future in Liberia, inspiring a renewed sense of community responsibility in addressing this critical societal challenge.

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