An alarming threat to the future generation of Liberia Drug and Alcohol Addiction is now drawing serious concern as well as attention of the Civil Society and pressure groups in Liberia including national Government.
“If not robustly tackle, it could be the next crisis in Liberia, disclosed, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson.
According to him now is the time to fight the situation, Hands Down.
Minister Wilson like other officials of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency pledge support to the amendment of current drugs Law to ensure it is non bailable.
He is of the conviction that the pending major policy decision by the legislature if finalized will help immensely in the fight against drugs and substance abuse across Liberia.
Speaking at a launching program the Secretary General of the Liberia Council of Churches Rev. Christopher Toe regret the manner and form in which young people in Liberia are being increasing influenced by their peers to substance of abuse, alcohol addiction among others especially in schools and local communities.
According to him it is a time bomb for the society, the speed in which the situation is expanding daily.
“It is more scaring for drugs where you hardly see in most instances the transactions or consumers only the troubling outcomes among the young people unlike alcohol, this he wants urgent attention to be taken from stakeholders in the sector.
According to Dr. Mesfin Zlebo, Country Director of the World Health Organization in Liberia massive community engagement which he so far observed is being carryout by some civil society and pressure groups in Liberia is one of the ways to fight the alarming wave drugs and alcohol addiction in the Country.
He wants strong political- will through concrete policy decisions to help address the creeping crisis in Liberia.
He believed and observed that if not address adequately, the situation could lead to the increase in crime including insecurity among the people as well as the decrease in work productivity and increase the marginalization among the young people.
He hailed national Government including other civil society groups in Liberia for joining the fight in helping to curtail the increase in drug and alcohol addiction among the young people by engaging into massive community campaign and mobilization, palava hut and Town Hall meetings, radio talk shows, dramas and many others aimed at educating the young people on the danger of drugs and alcohol addiction in the society but noted that more still needs to be done.
Currently, national Government through line Ministries and Agencies have established an inter-Ministerial team working directly with and in the sector of young people to gradually address the situation.
So far they have instituted series of programs and projects aimed at empowering and rehabilitating young people to include the Youth at Risk Program, the Social Economic Empowerment Development (SEED) Program and many others.
Minister Wilson also stressed the need to know the statistics of those affected by drug and alcohol addiction, this he noted is key and necessary in order for them to make direct interventions swiftly.
He commended the UNFPA for making available 50,000usd to conduct the nationwide assessment soon.
In the wake of the situation there is a growing debate on whether to tackle as priority, the traffickers or the consumers as one school of taught blamed squarely the traffickers to the increase of drugs and alcohol addiction among the young people while others linked it to peer pressure which is also a pivotal factor.
However, some doctors and medical practitioners want their patients to be protected and given the necessary medical and rehabilitation care while those who bring in the dangerous substances should be dealt with in keeping with the laws of the Country.
According to them their patients still have hope and can regain normalcy and contribute to society but if the root cause which happens to be trafficking is not addressed, the situation will be a dead end.
As the battle to reduce and or eradicate the menace from the society continues more practical and engagements as well as funding and collective efforts are needed from all sectors of the Country because, it is a national issue that needs to be tackle as national emergency, noted Rev. Toe,Dr. Zlebo and Minister Wilson respectively.
Historically and with the current chain of command across the globe in which the drugs business is spreading, Liberia appears to be vulnerable and a potential hub due to its porous borders as well as strategic location to the continent of Africa mainly West Africa of which Nigeria is notorious for such practice.