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Liberian Minister Wants ‘Army of People’ in Drug War to Recue Youth Trapped in Addiction

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The ministries of Health, Youth and Sports in partnership with the United Nations agencies have joined forces to help reduce the spread of harmful narcotic and other prohibitive substances.

Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah wants “army of people” to fight the proliferation of drugs and stem its impact on the country’s population.

She told reporters recently the ministry of health has embarked on a project of training more people in the war against the menace.

“Drugs users are not criminals. This is a medical issue. Let us look at it at a medical view because these people are sick and need help,” Jallah said.

“Instead of arresting them and putting them in jail, we need to tackle them because they have a health problem.

“For health we feel that we need to build an army. You already have a lot of people that have been exposed to these drugs. To fight it, you can’t have three or four persons. You need a hold army of people.”

“For every one person taking drug, we’ll have two persons to look after them and make sure they are well. Those who need to be at home or just going to the center, our army will make sure two to one on every drug person”

It is estimated that 2 in 10 youth in Liberia are users of narcotic substances. To sustain the desire and use of narcotic drugs, these young people who live in ghettos, street corners, and cemeteries often resort to crime, including armed robberies.

According to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, factors influencing the growing population of “At-Risk Youth,” in Liberia include “peer pressure, poverty, sexual and physical abuse, weak family support system, and intergenerational drug use” as many of the country’s current drug addicts’ parents are former child soldiers. These child soldiers were themselves introduced to drugs at an early age.

– Writes Jenneh T. Borbor

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