Some commercial drivers at the Odawna lorry station in Accra have admitted to using drugs to double their round trips to make more sales.
Substances including marijuana, cocaine and tramadol, often concealed in sweets or toffees, are consumed to boost their energy levels to work longer hours.
This confirms the fears of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), which admits many of its members get high before they take passengers on a journey, although they are unable to fish them out.
Despite the dangers passengers are exposed to on the roads, these drivers prefer to use drugs to help them make ends meet in an increasingly difficult economy.
“We take ‘wee’ toffee and chilled water to drive so well. If you take this ‘wee’ toffee, no Police officer can detect it, and you drive freely to your destination.
“If you don’t smoke, you can’t do this work; the work is hard, and for you to cover several round trips, you have to smoke ‘wee’ to make you feel high.
“Some of my colleague drivers smoke ‘weed’, and they abuse alcohol too. They say it helps them to work without getting tired.
“We have been advising them to stop it, but they are not willing to stop, regardless of the health and social implications,” they told JoyNews’ Samuel Kojo Brace.
General Secretary for the GPRTU, Godfred Abulbire, revealed on Joy FM that they have received reports of some drivers consuming cocaine-laden toffees and alcohol to stay awake and alert while travelling on long-distance journeys.
He urged passengers to report drivers who may be found guilty of such acts.
“Like you were talking about drunk driving or whatever, persons at the point departure may not drink. But, halfway, they stop and enter spots and take alcoholic drinks.
“I can say that some members from the Upper East coming to Tamale and Kumasi found guilty have been banned.
“But the situation now is becoming more than we expected…not even alcohol alone, I remember somebody called me and asked if I have heard of this toffee that is made of cocaine or whatever, and I responded in the negative, but in some way, I have heard about it,” he said.
Following these revelations, a manager at the Odawna station has sworn to sack any driver found engaging in the acts.
“Some of these drivers do what they like, but as a station master, I will sack anyone caught abusing drugs,” he stressed.
The problem has been compounded by the citing of drinking bars that sell alcohol and, in some cases, drugs closer to the bus terminals.
A seller close to the Odawna station admits he should not be selling to drivers, but his difficulty is to make them out.
“These drivers are stubborn…their leaders tell us not to give them drink, so we stop some of them. If the person is coming, you don’t know if he’s a driver or an ordinary person coming to buy from you.
“The right ones we know them, we stop them from this [but] they tell me ‘if you can’t sell for me, I’ll go to the other side,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called for random testing on the roads to fish out these drivers and punish them.