Youth on Drug- Zimbabwe Ghetto (Courtesy of Rev. Caleb Dormah) Liberian President-elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai

Liberia’s War On Narcotic Drugs Awaits The New CIC Could JNB Rescue The Perishing?

By George Sarwah Stewart |

The scourge of narcotic drug use has reached alarming proportions in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, with estimates from Global Action for Sustainable Development (GASD) suggesting a staggering 100,000 drug users among the city’s 1.5 million inhabitants. Shockingly, one in five young people in Liberia, as reported by the United Nations Populations Fund, is involved in narcotics.

This data underscores the gravity of the issue in a country of 5.2 million, where 63% of the population is under 25, presenting a critical juncture for Liberia’s future.

The Grim Reality: Liberia is at a crossroads, facing potential infrastructural and national security crises due to the prevalence of narcotics. The youth, comprising 63% of the population, are entangled in a web of violence, serving as both victims and scapegoats for drug trafficking activities at key entry points like seaports, airports, and land borders. The nation, once hailed as the “Sweet Land of Liberty,” is grappling with a dark reality.

The Changing Leadership: With a change in government, the question arises: can hope be rekindled as the “Rescue Mission” takes over? Specifically, can President-elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai (JNB) turn the tide and rescue the perishing youth from the grip of narcotics? As it is, hopes are high and explicit in a JNB leadership to settle the dust and present a glaring future for all.

Eager for our national solution to this drug war, I humbly present a three-Pronged Approach to Mr. President-elect and his young Vice President Elect, who is intentionally mentioned here as the appropriate campaign lead against drug abuse because of his youthful charisma.

Declaration of State of Emergency:

As of January 22, 2024, Your Excellency will assume leadership over Liberia. This transition marks a critical juncture in our nation’s history, necessitating urgent action against the escalating threat of narcotic drug trafficking. Lives are being lost, and the security of our citizens is compromised. I propose the immediate declaration of a State of Emergency to empower the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to lead a robust response against drugs threatening our nation, including “marijuana, heroin, cocaine, Italian White, and Kush.

Establishment of National Emergency Rehabilitation Centers:

Under your leadership, Mr. President-elect, the country’s response should not only be punitive but also rehabilitative. I recommend the construction of National Emergency Rehabilitation Centers, managed by Public Health and Psychosocial Therapists. Collaboration with institutions such as the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Gender and Children Protection Ministry, and academic health institutions can form a formidable support network. We possess the initial capital needed to confront this crisis head-on.

Support for Technical & Vocational Institutions:

To ensure a sustainable recovery, a synergy between rehabilitation centers and technical and vocational institutions is essential. Drawing inspiration from successful post-war initiatives, such as Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR), we can redirect the skills of recovered individuals towards national development. Technical training, with a focus on agriculture, can transform former addicts into contributors to our nation’s food sufficiency and create multiple job opportunities. This strategic approach will not only address the immediate crisis but also foster long-term economic and social stability.

 No doubt, Liberia faces a new crisis—narcotic drugs that threaten the majority of its youth. As President-elect, JNB has to take on the responsibility to control the drug-related challenges like all others including corruption, bad concessions, unemployment, and poor education.  We have to clean up the mess right from the streets. Already, you have taught us to say: “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, and Build Liberia“.

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