War on illicit drugs!

Jul 2, 2020, 10:13 AM

June 26th annually is commemorated globally as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking or simply 'World Drug Day'.

This day is set aside as per Resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, of the United Nations General Assembly to highlight the dangers of drug use and their illegal trade as well as provide educational material to teachers and public officials all over the world. The day is also part of the broader campaign to help spread the message about the extreme cultural and economic harm the trade in drugs is still having on communities across the globe one hundred years after the war on drugs was initially launched in Shanghai around the start of the 20th century.

Consequently, the theme of this year’s commemoration is "Better Knowledge for Better Care.

The reality is that illicit drug abuse and trafficking continues to be a growing problem confronting many developing, middle and even developed countries. Around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30% more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders, according to the latest World Drug Report, released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Illicit drug abuse is harmful to human health. For instance, cocaine and heroin can be lethal. Marijuana, while not as immediately critical, has been shown in one study, to be detrimental to one's IQ if use starts in the teen years, as it often does.

As rightly stated by Interior minister Sonko during commemorations marking the event, the government of the Gambia remains committed to attaining security and justice for all by tackling threats posed by drug abuse and trafficking.

Undeniably, the recent surge in drug related problems especially in our street corners in urban centres mostly involving youngsters is a cause for concern. Parents and guardians and even government have a great role to play in getting these youths out of the street corners, thereby engaging them to positively contribute to national development. We all have a great role to play.

And we must bear in mind that war on drug calls for concerted effort by all stakeholders. The more we come together to fight illicit drug abuse, the better chance we stand in addressing the issue.

we must send the message that if you use illegal drugs, you will pay the ultimate price by not playing an entire season. And if you get caught again, you will be banished for life

Jim Bunning