Joseph Bennie

In a significant move to curb the rising trend of alcoholism among the youth, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has announced its readiness to collaborate with celebrities for educational campaigns.

Joseph Bennie, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at the FDA, emphasized that while the agency is open to leveraging the influence of celebrities, this partnership will strictly be for anti-alcoholism education and not for promoting alcoholic beverages.

“We can partner them to speak against alcoholism, but not to endorse alcoholism,” Bennie stated. “If you have ever listened to our song on the three words, no. We partner the musician to come out to the party. I hope one day some of you will get this. We have nothing against it. We can partner them to do the education on alcoholism. Our point is endorsing alcoholism.”

Bennie expressed concern about the normalization of drinking among the youth and stressed the need for responsible messaging. “Yes, the youth are already drinking it. So what do we do? Do we allow them to do that? Do we still encourage them? No, we shouldn’t. So the celebrities, the well-known personalities should rather partner with me to ensure that we take them off the alcohol court,” he continued.

The FDA’s strategy involves using the platforms of celebrities to promote healthier lifestyles and alternatives to alcohol consumption. “We do not endorse it right now. But we use their medium to educate their youth, encourage their youth that they can do some other things instead of depending on alcoholism,” Bennie said.

Addressing concerns about alcohol advertisements in Ghanaian media, Bennie acknowledged that while occasional unauthorized ads slip through, the FDA is actively working to resolve this issue. “One concern that they are raising is that we also advertise or endorse some of these products which are not on Ghanaian media. Thanks for watching! if it’s within the space of Ghana yes but we are dealing with it it’s not all once in a while one of it filters through but we are dealing with that and very soon we have a clarity on that with this very decision backing us.”

He also pointed out that, similar to international standards seen during events like the World Cup, Ghana will enforce strict regulations on alcohol advertisements involving celebrities. “No matter where you are operating from once you are airing within the space of Ghana you cannot advertise alcohol using a celebrity or well-known personality,” Bennie asserted.

The FDA’s initiative marks a proactive step towards reducing alcohol abuse among Ghanaian youth by harnessing the influence of popular figures to promote positive behavior changes.

Source: Ghana/ Mensah