WAR ON DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING


WAR ON DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING
By Nnagoziem ‘The Vyrus’ Udensi

Drug Dependence, psychological and sometimes physical state characterized by a compulsion to use a drug to experience psychological or physical effects. Drug dependence takes several forms: tolerance, habituation, and addiction. Drug dependence over time has become a major glitch the moral forms of the society worldwide and generally seen unfriendly due to the negative effects and attributes it portrays. To this effect, An International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking met in Vienna from June 17 to 26 1987.
It was attended by 138 countries and 200 non-governmental organizations, with a term of office to generate universal action to combat the drug problem at the national, regional, and international levels. The conference adopted in accord a handbook entitled The Conference Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities Relevant to the Problem of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which lists possible actions to resolve problems related to drug demand, supply, trafficking, treatment, and rehabilitation. An agenda for the 1990s was also approved. For the first time in the 16 years since the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control was established, the Soviet Union and members of the Eastern bloc offered cooperation. The United Nations General Assembly, via Resolution 42/112 of December 7, 1987, adopted June 26 as International Day against Drug Abuse. The day is set aside to specifically remind stakeholders in UN member states on the need to create an international society free of drug abuse. As a signatory to the Resolution, Nigeria joined the war against drug abuse and trafficking by launching the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) via decree 48 of 1989. The agency, which is mandated to protect the country from the dangers of hard drugs, had since recorded some modest successes. Its record in 2009, for instance, showed that it apprehended 2,789 suspected drug traffickers between January and May. Of the figure, 2,586 were males, while 203 were females. According to the files, a total of 37,668 kilogrammes of various narcotic and psychotropic substances were also seized from the illicit drug traffickers. cocaine seizures were recorded in 14 states among them Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Enugu. Others included Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Rivers and the FCT.


In Nigeria; drug trafficking took a rather jaw-dropping form in Kano. People take it as a legitimate means of livelihood to hawk and dispense drugs freely like they are hawking groundnut or sachet water, irrespective of the place, drugs status and the atmospheric condition of the day. At present after some effort, there has been some level of change since government went into empowering the people to do businesses other than drugs, and this has led to about 10 to 15 per cent reduction in drug trafficking in Kano. Drug enforcement officials in Nigeria recently took stock of the last two years and attributed the success of the country's war on drugs on two laws, among others:
Money Laundering Decree 3 of 1995, under which any cash deposit of $6,250 or its equivalent by an individual or $25,000 or its equivalent by a corporate body should be reported to the NDLEA and the Central Bank of Nigeria. A statement from the NDLEA says banks in Nigeria "now fully comply with the provisions of the decree which requires weekly and monthly returns to NDLEA and Central Bank." It states that some suspicious accounts had already been closed while proven cases of fraudulent funds had led to forfeiture. Nigeria today leads other African countries and indeed most countries of the world in the battle against illicit drug trafficking and abuse. According to the 1995 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report, Nigeria is steps ahead of most states in implementing the provisions of the three main international drug control treaties.  Recently, Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade declared that Nigeria was winning the drug war, particularly with the United States delisting Nigeria from the drug majors’ list. While listing some of the benefits of the delisting and promising to improve on existing performance, the NDLEA boss said: “The United States government, for the first time last year, removed Nigeria from the drug Majors List. This historic achievement is an endorsement of NDLEA drug control efforts. The advantages of delisting Nigeria include improved working relations with the United States. Nigeria stands to benefit immensely from US sales under the Arms Export Control Act, non-food assistance under the US public Law 480, as well as other support under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).”

In United Kingdom More than 6,000 soldiers have failed drugs tests over the past decade, an investigation by The Independent has found. Figures from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) show that the main drug of choice for military personnel has been cocaine, with a fivefold increase in the number of soldiers failing tests for it between 2000 and 2008. But a dramatic fall in positive cocaine tests last year has prompted experts to suspect that soldiers have switched to mephedrone, a new "legal high" about to be outlawed by the Government. There have been 6,360 failed drugs tests in the Army since 2000. About 58 soldiers have tested positive for heroin, 2,510 for cocaine and around 1,090 for ecstasy. Though the MoD maintained it "did not tolerate" drug use among its troops, the figures show that about 1,300 offenders avoided being discharged.

In South Africa people No longer content simply with the relatively mild euphoria that can be derived from a nail, a cup of hemp tea or a dagga cookie, today’s oblivion seekers have now graduated to an array of complex chemical delights. Drug abuse in South Africa soars to unimagined levels along with an alarming and parallel growth in drug-related crimes. The current and much-extended menu of illegal substances that, as well as marijuana and LSD, now features such exotic items as cocaine, heroin, crack, crystal meth, ecstasy, cat, khat, tick, LSD, GHB. GBL and Mandrax, has opened up a veritable cornucopia of new opportunities for drug abuse in South Africa. Perhaps the most serious consequence of this steady proliferation of these new drugs is that dealers have now placed them within easy reach of those who were previously protected. Tragically, it is the very young that have become the most recent victims of drug abuse in South Africa and statistics show that the incidence of pre-teenage addiction in some parts of the country is becoming a significant problem.

In the United States; On July 1 1973 the Drug Enforcement Administration was established in the Justice Department. Created from three existing federal units (the largest of which was the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs), the new agency represents a further effort by the U.S. government to coordinate and intensify its avowed war on illicit drugs. But the government's drug war took an increasingly international slant in 1992 with the conviction of former Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega on drug trafficking charges and a joint sweep of drug-money launderers in Italy and Colombia as well as the United States. After years of institutional reluctance, the U.S. military significantly expanded its involvement in efforts to reduce the flow of drugs into the United States. The Pentagon stepped up its technical support of antidrug operations by foreign governments, particularly in the South American nations of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. As part of a $65 million emergency aid package, the U.S. government provided helicopters, airplanes, boats, small arms, and medical equipment to Colombia in August. The first of up to 100 military advisers were dispatched to train Colombian troops to use the new equipment. Pentagon rules of engagement prohibited American military personnel from participating in operations against drug traffickers in the region. The military was also expected to assume a larger role in detection and interdiction of drug traffickers along U.S. borders, but Defence Department officials rebuffed proposals by members of Congress to allow the military to shoot down aircraft suspected of flying narcotics into the United States. In 1994, it was reported that the "War on Drugs" results in the incarceration of one million Americans each year. Of the related drug arrests, about 225,000 are for possession of cannabis, the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States. In 2008, 1.5 million Americans were arrested for drug offenses. 500,000 were imprisoned. Not minding the interesting discovery analysed by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron who estimated that legalizing drugs would inject $76.8 billion a year into the U.S. economy — $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenue ($6.7 billion from marijuana, $22.5 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).

In Kenya war on drugs and alcohol has had significant developments. It could be attributed to two major events in the recent past. First, the coming into effect of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, which is commonly referred to as the Mututho law and, secondly, the release of a dossier naming individuals suspected to be engaging in or abetting drug trafficking. The new Alcohol Control Bill  sums up  an end to all legislation tackling the menace of illicit alcohol, second-generation brews, the blight of alcohol-fuelled road carnage, broken homes and domestic assaults, whose cause could only be laid at the footsteps of binge drinking. This dark reality came to the fore after the consequential legislation narrowed down to a wasted generations of youths, often too drunk and rife to have a care in the world, in both urban and rural settings.  Those defying the new law are hauled to court and fined up to USD 386.1890 per person. On hard drugs issue, the Government has since tightened the noose on drug barons, supply of cocaine and heroin has gone down at the Kenyan Coast forcing addicts to stream into hospitals in search of rehabilitation either after failing to replenish their supplies or in a new resolve to kick the habit. "We have received reports that the reduction of heroin and cocaine in the market has made some of the addicts especially those who have refused to go for treatment to turn to Bhang (Cannabis Sativa)," reveals Sheikh Juma Ngao, a director with National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada). Mombasa District AP commandant Hussein Mohammed confirms that addicts have turned to bhang because it is readily available in the market. He says cocaine and heroin have become scarce adding that addicts who were hooked on to the drugs were progressively becoming weaker. "Those chronic addicts who don’t want to go for treatment and rehabilitation are now using a cocktail of bhang and Rohypnol, a sedative used by psychiatric patients. We have arrested several suspects who revealed that they have been sent to peddle the cocktail to addicts who can’t access heroin and cocaine," says Mohammed. He also reveals that a row has emerged between the addicts and suppliers. Bhang can also be mixed with small quantities of heroin. According to a report from the UN's Narcotics Control Board from 2008, East Africa has become "the major conduit for smuggling heroin from southwest Asia into Africa (and on to) Europe and North America. The abuse of heroin has become a matter of concern in some east and southern African countries and it is having a really bad effect because among the injecting drug users in Kenya, 68 to 88 percent are HIV positive.
Globally, the war on drug trafficking and abuse due to intensity and devotion is yielding unimaginably positively contrary to the beliefs most individuals have. This, to a point is good encouraging news viewing the number of deaths and hazards attributed to drug abuse in a year in various countries collectively. To this point of improvement in Nigeria is the evident delisting of the country from the United States drug majors which is commendable as advancement to the development of the country and a better tomorrow. Working hard to maintain and improve on this level should be the work of every patriotic Nigerian at large.

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