MOBILIZING SUPPORT FOR DRUG CONTROL IN NIGERIA
BY MARGARET ULANMO
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations event which has been observed annually since June 26 1988. The General Assembly decided to adopt 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Global action for healthy communities without drugs”.
The General Assembly recognized that despite continued and increased efforts by the international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health, the safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and the national security and sovereignty of States.
It realized that illicit trafficking and trade in hard drugs undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development.
The UN therefore encouraged the Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue their work on international drug control. It urged all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to enable UNODC expand and strengthen operational and technical cooperation activities, within its mandates.
It is important to understand the nature and patterns of illicit drugs and their usage to be able to tackle the scourge of drug trafficking and abuse.
Drug abuse involves compulsive craving to use a substance, regardless of the potentially negative social, psychological and physical consequences. Certain drugs are more physically addicting than others. Drug use may lead to an emotional, psychological or a physical dependence.
There are many reasons why people take illegal drugs. Some take them to escape their problems while others are bored, curious or just want to feel good. People may be pressured into taking drugs to “fit in” with a particular crowd or they may take drugs to rebel or get attention.
An addiction is not just measured by how many times a person uses a drug. One crosses the line between abuse and addiction when one is no longer trying the drug to have fun but because one comes to depend on it. One’s whole life centres on the need for the drug.
More worrisome is the dangerous link between organized crime and drug trafficking with regard to illicit drug trade’s broad impact on development. Drug trafficking has particularly severe implications because of the vast illegal profit it generates – an estimated 322 billion dollars a year.
In several drug transit regions, criminal groups undermine the State and the rule of law by fuelling corruption, compromising elections and hurting the legitimate economy. In all cases, criminal influence and money are having a significant impact on the livelihood and quality of citizens, most particularly the poor, women and children.
For these reasons, it is crucial to take concerted action to build a healthy global community free of drugs.
Experts agree that preventive action holds the best prospect to realize that goal. Nigeria should not be left behind as the world shifts from law enforcement to Prevention through Education, in the bid to stem the supply, distribution and use of illicit drugs.
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