Pubdate: Thu, 06 Mar 2008
Source: Times Of Zambia (Zambia)
Copyright: 2008 Times Of Zambia
Note: Title by newshawk.
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


IT should be a matter of grave concern to authorities and all 
Zambians that the country has been cited in the 2007 International 
Narcotics Board report as being among the few countries in Africa 
leading in cannabis cultivation and abuse.

According to the report, Zambia is also increasingly becoming a 
favourite destination and transit point for shipments of cocaine from 
West Africa and Latin America for onward delivery to Europe and the 
North Americas.

Africa, Zambia included, is also being used as a trans -shipment area 
for the diversion of precursors, particularly ephedrine and pseudo -ephedrine.

The writing is, therefore, on the wall, an indication that either 
something is seriously wrong in the way the country is enforcing laws 
relating to drug trafficking and use through the Drug Enforcement 
Commission (DEC), or there is a serious lack of support to the 
Commission through failure to commit adequate financial and human 
resources to combating the scourge.

What is further frightening to this young emerging economy is the 
fact that serious narcotics such as cocaine, according to the report, 
are also increasingly finding easy passage through this country, 
leaving in their wake such devastating health effects not only to 
small-time users, but also in a manner that can easily distort the 
economy through money laundering activities.

It is such developments that not only Government but also the general 
population must guard against to prevent the whole nation from 
becoming a den of drug barons and users of these narcotics.

As rightly stated by DEC commissioner, Peter Chigaipe, those 
identified as users have backslidden to their old ways because there 
is no proper specialised institution that deals with users of these drugs.

While serious interventions have been spearheaded by the African 
Union to tackle this problem through an elaborate three-year plan on 
drug control, Government in this regard still needs to have a fresh 
look at its anti-drugs strategies by properly funding the DEC.

Sadly, though, is the phasing out of school and radio programmes that 
were an everyday feature in the different media, radio, television 
and newspapers a few years ago. Such methods of sensitisation went a 
long way in inculcating in the youth a sense of knowledge about the 
dangers of drug abuse.

Further aggravating this vice is the link between drug abuse, poverty 
and HIV/AIDS by the use of intravenous lines, injections and 
high-risk sexual behaviour.

It is through deliberately directed and focused grassroots education 
on drugs abuse that there can be the greatest impact on the nation in 
terms of stemming the negative tide.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom