Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor has said that drug abuse is a serious socio-economic and security problem that must be addressed with critical strategies.
The Senator urged the DEA to put in place mechanisms to address the needs of thousands of young people whose lives have been destroyed by their dependence on drugs.
“It is clear that Liberia’s transition from conflict and its search for lasting peace and stability is further hampered by this high rate of drug trafficking and usage. This situation is further exacerbated by the violence usually associated with these activities; the attending problems associated with addicts of deadly psychoactive substances; the possible increase and transfer of diseases from one user to another, such as HIV and AIDs; and the possible negative impact of huge assets derived from the illicit drug trade which could be used to influence political decisions against national interests and the possible destabilization of Governments,” Senator Taylor said.
She said the situation remains critical to National development as studies continue to prove that: The funds from the drug trade is the highest source of funds being used for the spread of violence and illegal activities in most parts of the world including here in West Africa.
“The study also proves that there is a direct linkage between school dropout rates and drug abuse, and those who are the world’s worst drug users are between the ages 16-35, thereby affecting a nation’s most useful population.
Today, our national agenda of making Liberia a drug free nation has begun in earnest, by the adaptation of the relevant laws and commitment by all relevant stakeholders to use it vigorously,” she explained.
In order for Liberia to become a drug free nation she said, “A new approach must be considered in order to adopt a balanced and effective program.
“I am of the opinion that this approach should include some of the following: Adequate funding for robust war on drugs, the creation and implementation of an aggressive information, education and dissemination program which encourages drug prevention and usage by an ever growing population of young people,” Senator Taylor asserted.
“Availability and implementation of a scientific-based prevention and treatment program for drugs user and addicts; the implementation of a community based advocacy program that informs the public, especially our young people of the debilitating effects of drug trafficking and abuse could also be some possible approaches,” she added.
The Bong County Senator pointed out that many communities remain unsafe and at risk because drug related crimes and abuse amongst the youthful population between the ages 17 to 35 are probably the highest cause of death in this category.
“We must do our best in linking our fight against drugs to ongoing international fights, but keeping in mind that with our small population and the high incidence of drug use and abuse, our fight must be greatest at home,” she said.