Arresting and Burning Narcotic Substances Is not Enough to Fight Illicit Drugs


Last week our Nimba County Correspondent Ishmael Menkor reported that the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) arrested and burnt some narcotic substances in the Tappita region of Lower Nimba County. The report indicated that the farm operator, Zlahn Vaye, and his wife are on the run, having left a cold trail. This is but part of the many arrests connected to narcotic substances in the country. The LDEA has on many occasions intercepted illegal drugs of various kinds, and in some instances arrested people connected to this illicit act. In spite of the efforts by the LDEA to tackle trafficking and production of illicit drugs in the country, there seems to be no reduction in the flow of these dangerous substances.

The continuous flow of narcotics and other dangerous substances into Liberia shows that something is wrong despite efforts by the LDEA to curb these practices, and it is nothing else but failure on the part of the government to make illegal the use and abuse of these drugs. On the observance each year of International Drug Day, the Director of Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, Anthony Sorh, emphasizes the need for the passage of the Drug Law that continues to linger in the National Legislature. Ecclesiastes 8:11 of the Bible says, “If sentence against evil work is not speedily executed, men will always have the mindset of committing evil.”

While it is evidently clear in Liberia that law enforcement is weak, people will at least make reference to the law in case of any incident. But as is the case with illegal drugs, there is no legal instrument to serve as the legal basis to prosecute traffickers and producers. Of all the cases coming up in courts across the country, it is rare to hear anything about prosecuting drug traffickers or abusers. Yet, on a daily basis, we see the adverse impacts that drug abuse and trafficking are making on the population. Are our lawmakers not seeing the many mentally deranged people flooding the streets nowadays? Do the lawmakers care to know what the root cause(s) are? Are these people not the same that would be in the best position to vote them in if they were in their right minds?

The negative impacts of drug trafficking and abuse are enormous. As drug abuse makes many insane in our cities, lawmakers must remember that these insane people can easily harm the sound people they walk among. The insane without conscience defecate in the street, and this is not only environmentally unpleasant, but health-threatening to us all. Even if a lawmaker does not walk to step in the feces, it is possible that his/her vehicle’s tires will roll in it. Moreover and most importantly, the human resources the country needs are dwindling as a result of insanity caused by the prevalence of illicit drugs. Government must remember that the more drug abusers in a society, the more criminals are produced and the higher the crime rate becomes. Let us consider some Latin American countries, specifically Colombia, Peru and Bolivia that are producers of cocaine. According to Drug Policy Alliance, throughout the entire region, in both drug production and trafficking countries (Mexico, Central America and Caribbean), there has been increases in violence, corruption, impunity, erosion of the rule of law, and human rights violations caused by the emergence of powerful organized crime groups and drug cartels. Drug Policy Alliance also states that Central America has some of the world’s most dangerous cities, with the highest global homicide rate is found in Honduras, at 82.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

Note also that “Zogos” that are in the streets snatching phones and picking pockets are living on drugs, and most of them have children who are coming up in the same way or in other useless forms. Cannot our lawmakers learn from these instances to pass the Drug Law to prevent the exacerbation of crime in this country? Or is it that they are stakeholders in drug trafficking and are becoming so rich out of these illicit drugs that they feel that enacting such laws as the Drug Law will undermine their ill-gotten wealth?

Well, we agree that due to ignorance a lot of Liberians will blame legislators for failing to provide money, rice, or build schools and roads for their constituents. For the reasonable ones, they will hold lawmakers accountable for failing to pass into law society-saving instruments, one of which is the Drug Law. If the drug law were passed, it would surely minimize the trafficking of dangerous substances in the country and traffickers would not, with impunity, find delight in bringing them here to enslave our people and render them useless in the society while they (traffickers) become rich. Arresting and burning marijuana is not enough to curtail drug trafficking; we need a strong, enforceable law to fight it.


  1. The gov’t needs to take a comprehensive look at drug laws. By finding ways and means to outline effective polices relating to and not limited to legalization of certain drugs, taxation of certain drugs, enforcement, special drug courts and rehabilitation. And final, look at drug polices that are viable in counties as Spain and others. We need new tools to deal with the realities of today and a country coming out of a decade and half of civil war(some of the root causes of drug use along with abject poverty included).


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