Eight out of 10 commercial drivers sampled by the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) are hooked on snuff of powdered moringa leaves suspected to laced with cocaine and marijuana.

The MTTU Commander, Julius Avorga, who disclosed this to the Times, expressed concern about the phenomenon because of its possible effect on road safety and the health hazard that it posed to users.

He said those who used the snuff claimed that it energised them and kept them awake while driving.

Mr. Avorga said various products made from the moringa leaf, said to have medicinal properties, had been put on the market, some of which could be dangerous to health.

He said the snuff when sniffed, had the potential to damage the brain and the nasal cavity after continuous usage.

Mr. Avorga said since the country’s laws did not prohibit the production and usage of the snuff, the only alternative was for the Food and Drugs Board (FOB) to determine its efficacy or otherwise.

“It is difficult to arrest people using the snuff because unlike the alcohol sensor which can detect alcohol levels, in the body there is no mechanism by which to determine the level of snuff one has sniffed.

He, therefore, called on the FDB to subject the moringa snuff and the other products to test to either certify them or have them withdrawn from the market.

Mr. Avorga said the frequent accidents had given cause to deduce that the majority of the drivers involved were tired and therefore lost concentration.

“How can we lose 990 lives from January to June alone with over 6,000 people in critical condition and 8,000 vehicles damaged? We need to do something,” he noted

He appealed to religious leaders to use the pulpit to discourage especially the youth from the use of narcotic substances.

“It is their moral duty to use the pulpit to change the mind-set of the youth so that we can leave behind a generation that will jealously guard the legacies we leave behind,” he added.

Some drivers and union executives the Times interviewed in Accra and Aflao confirmed that some of their members use the snuff but not the type laced with narcotic substance.

They said the snuff which they got from reliable sources relieved the body of stress.

They said that they did not use it while driving but when they were about to go to bed. They asked the FDB to act quickly in order to prevent narcotics dealers from taking advantage of the situation.

Source: Ghanaian Times