Friday, July 6, 2012

Gambia plagued by drug abuse and trafficking

Cocaine bust, estimated to worth $1 billion, June 2010, Banjul.
The Youth Consortium for Progress (YCF) has said in recent years, Gambia has beenplagued by the twin menaces of drug abuse and drug trafficking. 
The YCF said this has particularly affected the youths, encouraging a lifestyle ofcrime and addiction. As a result, youths are increasingly unprepared to pursue legitimate career paths as they often drop out of school. 

Young people, whom the charitable organisation said are Gambia’s greatest resource, are being underexploited thus hindering their chances of development.
Recently, a YCF-organised workshop to educate young people on the adverse effects of drug abuse and trafficking was held at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue.
The participants are also expected to serve as ambassadors in the fight against drug abuse. 
 “We need to define our life and know who we are first before using illicit drugs and alcohol,” Pastor Roberts Noble of FES Gambia, encouraging all to pursue a life of purpose and not succumb to peer pressure.
Resource persons and participants
 “There remains no room for illicit drug abuse in Islam as Allah the Almighty created us not only to worship, but also to obey him in all ways and be responsible members of the society,” Mr. Momodou Sambou of International Organisation of Good Templars (IOGT) said.
 The PRO of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), ASP Abdoulie Ceesay said the sale of drugs had become commonplace in school compounds, urging the students to be vigilant at all times. 
“Don’t think that because you are a juvenile, you cannot be prosecuted when caught with illicit drugs”, he cautioned. “You will be taken to a child court which deals with kids and has the final verdict on all drug-related cases.” 
The lowest fine for drug related offences in the Gambia is D250, 000.00 with a minimum jail term of five years, he said on June 14, 2012.
Panelists included Pastor Noble Roberts of FES Gambia, Oustass Momodou Loum, representing the clergy, Mr. Momodou Sambou of International Organisation of Good Templars (IOGT),  Mr. Abdoulie Ceesay of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) and Mr. Samba of the Mental Advocacy Unit of the World Health Organisation. 

Written by Modou S. Joof 

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