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Boakai On Drugs Substance Intake Under CDC-led Gov’t

By Bill W. Cooper

The standard of the Unity Party (UP), Joseph N. Boakai has described Liberia under the leadership of President George M. Weah as a “narco-state” over the government failure to address the importation and use of illegal drugs and other narcotics substances in the country.

Ambassador Boakai, who is also Liberia’s former Vice President, also decried the country’s weak law enforcement capacity, porous borders, and proximity to major drug transit routes which he said help to contribute to trafficking of drugs to and through Liberia.

He said, “We are fast gaining notoriety as a transshipment country for illicit narcotics, with the country shamefully appearing now as a “narco-state” and an embarrassment to the international community.”

“And, the recent seizure of the US$100 million worth of drugs, the trial saga that ensued, and the mysterious and unexplained departure from the country of all those who stood trial and were “acquitted,” are indications of the extent to which the country has been rapidly exposed in the last few years to the narco trade,” the UP standard bearer maintained.

He made the statement on Monday, June 26, 2023 during the commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking under the global theme: “People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”, at his Rehab residence in Paynesville.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which is celebrated June 26, of every year is intended to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.

According to former VP Boakai, the increase of drugs and other illegal substances in Liberia exposes the failure of national leadership, a weak and criminal justice system and crucially raises suspicion about the probable complicity of some higher-ups in leadership.

He noted further that it is now obvious that the Weah Administration is incapable, unwilling, complicit, and indifferent to said crisis, indicating that they do not see it as most Liberians see it.

Amb. Boakai asserted, “This is why a change in national leadership is and should be now. We must see our votes as an opportunity to reverse this dangerous trend by saving our children and securing their future.”

“Fellow Liberians, you will agree with me that drug use and related crimes have affected nearly every family and threaten to undermine the very values of our society. We must not allow this to happen!” he said.

Meanwhile, Amb. Boakai has vowed to declare war on drug trafficking and use when elected President of Liberia during the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

This, he stressed, “The scale of the drug problem shows the Weah government’s nonchalant attitude towards one of the most critical issues confronting Liberians today, as they have no plans to address it.”

“So, I promise that I will declare war on drug trafficking and use when elected, which is why the decision you make on October 10 would be one of the most consequential in your lifetime. I implore you to remain vigilant and know that help is on the way to salvage our young people and society from “kush” and the throes of this epidemic,” he said.

Speaking about his plans to address the menace, the UP standard bearer assured the citizens that he will address the ‘grave situation’ by providing responsible leadership that would institute appropriate measures to bring hope to the young victims of the epidemic, as well as relief to hurting families, and assurances to a frankly shocked society.

He declared that the illegal use of drugs predominantly by the young people as not just an emergency but a national security crisis situation that must be arrested through a system-wide approach as well as to immediate undertake the establishment of rehabilitation and reintegration programs with the best professionals aimed at providing some of the best clinical care for those who have become addicted and dependent on these chemical substances.

He promised to develop an all-encompassing public health program focused on information, education, and research in combatting drug and substance abuse, and the strengthen of law enforcement to deal with the source of the drug problem in the country.

Boakai added that for years, the criminalization of the epidemic has targeted drug users and addicts, thus allowing drug dealers and their criminal networks to operate under the radar of the law.

“And in my view, the most egregious drug offenders are those who make the drugs, ship them to our shores, and others who sell them locally to our children; the criminals who operate along the supply chain of the trade.

“But the aim of our law enforcement strategy will be to disrupt the supply of drugs to the country. In this regard, we promise to enact very strong laws that will severely punish traffickers and their middlemen who operate in the open market by offering maximum prison sentences. We will go after these criminals and smoke them from their hideouts,” he emphasized.

Amb. Boakai asserted, “In this fight, robust legislation, training, and adequate resourcing will be aimed at supporting the National Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) to work with the Liberia National Police, and the National Immigration Services, and border patrol to curtail the prevalence of the drug problem in the country.”

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