Jun 12, 2013, 11:06 AM
The Gambia joined the rest of the world yesterday to commemorate International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
The commemoration, which was held at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) grounds, brought together young people, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, service chiefs and other sets of people in the country to dilate on the theme for this year.
Set aside to increase awareness in and cooperation from the general public, especially the youth, to campaign against drug abuse and trafficking, the day was observed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and all other drug law enforcement agencies across the globe.
It is observed as an expression of determination to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
As we commemorate this year’s event, we would again want to state our earlier position that drug trafficking is not just a crime; but properly perceived, it has to be one of the most damaging activities to individuals, society, and to national development.
What it encourages and propagates is a growing addiction to drug abuse.
According to some health experts, drug abuse can be defined as “the use of a drug to the point where the user’s health is affected, or where it becomes difficult for the user to live a responsible life.”
Two significant points immediately come to mind. First, someone’s health is affected, and by that is meant adversely affected.
In the event of addiction, the sufferer becomes prone to illness of body or mind, and sometimes both.
It is his or her family, friends, and society who carry the burden, providing medical expenses and financial and psychological support.
We have seen how some drug users, being so much addicted, go around stealing or flogging off valuable items in order to purchase drugs that they could not do without.
We have seen in our society today how drug abuse has reduced many decent, sometimes brilliant and capable individuals, to mere ragamuffins, and to destitution.
We have seen careers destroyed by it. Where does this leave the individual, his family, and the nation?
Second, the user may have difficulty living a responsible life. He or she may become a ‘junkie’, and lose all zeal to be a productive person in society.
Where does it leave national development, if a growing percentage grows because the user attracts more users.
The message, we are sure, is loud and clear.
Drug abuse harms individuals, distresses families, and regresses society. Surely what could be useful is concerted effort by parents, schools, and society to help keep young people from starting on drugs.
But, most importantly, those who make the drugs available should be made to meet the full force of the law. All they do is to gain quick wealth and to deal out slow death.
No greater disservice can one commit against his nation and to mankind, when engaged in drug trafficking.
“Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self esteem.”