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Gambia commemorates International Day Against Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking

Jun 28, 2012, 2:11 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDEA) on Monday joined the rest of the world to commemorate International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

The celebration was held at the KMC grounds under the local theme ‘A healthy nation without  illicit drugs begings with me.’

Delivering the opening statement on behalf of the director general of NDEA Kalilu Njie, the agency’s deputy director, said: “The day is set aside by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and is observed by anti-narcotic agencies all over the world.”

He said the NDEA is fully aware of the difficult nature of the fight it is leading and is conscious of the fact that NDEA alone cannot successfully win the war on drugs, despite all the necessary support given by the government thus the need for more collaboration with other stakeholders.

“The agency is calling on all individuals and communities to get involved in the awareness campaign so that collectively, they can win the war on drugs,” he said.

According to him, “UNODC statistics report, every year that 210 million people are affected with drugs out of which 200 thousand die yearly.”

Back home in The Gambia, he said every year over 300 people are arrested in connection with drugs.

For his part, Dr Abubacarr Senghore, chairman NDEA board of directors, “The Gambia is a signatory to all the three major conventions such as the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, the United Nations convention on psychotropic substance 1971 and the United Nations Convention on Illicit Trafficking on narcotics and psychotropic substances 1988”.

He added: “The Gambia cannot afford to be complacent in the face of increasing drug abuse and trafficking saying that, this has made the NDEA very alert in its resolve to fight drugs on all fronts.”

He added that the agency continues to enjoy political, financial and moral support from government and all genuine Gambians and non-Gambians alike.

Speaking earlier, Marcel Mendy, the executive secretary of the National Youth Council, told the gathering that the social and economic costs related to youth substance abuse are high.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Yankuba Colley, mayor of KMC and Superintendent Abdoulie Ceesay, PRO and officer commanding prosecution of NDEA, who chaired the occasion.