Rising Concerns Over Alcoholic Sachet Drink
Monrovia – A wave of unease is growing amongst parents following the resurfacing of an alcoholic beverage known as La Force Tranquille in a drip bag.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo/ [email protected]
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2008 banned the production and importation of alcohol in the drip bag due to kids indulging into it, especially during the festive season.
But Victoria Dahn is frustrated over this sudden reappearance.
She, along, with several women are members of a local church and wondered why Government regulations are not implemented.
‘La Force Tranquille is an imported alcoholic drink from neighboring Guinea.
Victoria, a pastor, said the drip is a threat to teenagers, mainly those who cannot afford the price to buy other beverages such Stout, Beer and Heineken.
“We don’t know what to do now because the government regulation is never implemented so I am wondering because the way in which this gin has come back, what will become of our children? This is a worry to us parents.”
She disclosed that she’s a mother of 4 boys but has no knowledge on their intake of alcohol but is concerned about teenagers in the country as a whole.
“Already authorities don’t carry out inspection and we are tussling with our children on the gambling and drugs businesses, then we have the gin matter added, this should claim the Government attention, something must be done.”
Drip was banned in 2008 but resurfaced 2015 but was later banned again by the Ministry of Commerce and is now on the Liberian market.
The banned alcoholic drink is currently being sold by a young man at the Red Light Market and several others in wheel barrow along with cold water and drinks in Waterside.
Mamadee Sheriff disclosed that he is currently selling for someone who brought the product from Guinea.
“The gin is being sold LD$15.00 and for every 10 sachets I have LD$ 50.00 as profit. I started selling it since October 15 this year and it is really helping me.”
Though he doesn’t drink alcohol, but according to him, teenagers and male adults are the major consumers.
“I don’t know the taste but I have customers especially on the beach and those men who are selling on the sidewalk in town (Monrovia) are my customers.”
For Jeremiah Sawo he has no knowledge of the lifting of ban on the drink but said “this particular product was banned in 2008 and recently 2005 and I am surprised that it has come back.
Though I am not aware if the ban has been lifted by the government but the Government must act or else our children will get involved into many things.”
The young trader who asked for anonymity said, “I always travel to Guinea to buy this particular product and I travelled through the border with them. I sell them in Liberia and no one has told me it is a banned product.”
FPA learned that the Liberian government banned the product because of the price of L$5 at which it was then being sold and became easily accessible by students.
“I am aware that some students would take the liquor in sachets to school. Even children were buying it, at first the sachet was smaller but now it’s bigger” Sawo said.
Details on the sachets indicate it is a product distilled in N’zerekore, Guinea. It has a picture of the head of an elephant on its front and the word ‘Energie’ in scripted in red letters between the product information and the image of the elephant.
Meanwhile, FPA could not get officials of the Ministries of Justice and Commerce to give clarity on the status of the product.
But a Ministry of Commerce official, who managed to speak on anonymity said during the festive season, the Ministry regularly put up a release disclosing the banning and inspection of products on the Liberia market.
“I don’t know, why this is not done this year but the resurfacing of this drip issue must be handled before Christmas and when it is banned let it be banned forever.”
“I share the concern because the easy access to such a strong drink must concern not only the government but parents as well,” he acknowledged.