By R. Joyclyn Wea
The usage of illicit drugs in Liberia is said to be increasing by the day, thus, creating insecurity among people in the country as well as leaving many young people to cost their lives in their quest to satisfy their addiction habit.
A drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically.
Despite government intervention through key relevant institutions to include: the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), LRRRC, Liberia National Police (LNP) among others to control the situation, people particularly youths are still seen in ghettos and streets corners in Monrovia and its environs under heavy influence of drugs.
Many communities in Monrovia and its environs are reportedly inaccessible particularly during the night hours due to presence of alleged drug users (Zogos) thereby causing danger for peaceful Liberian and other nationals residing in Liberia.
World Health Organization (WHO), Mental Health and Substance Abuse Consultant, Barkon Dwah asserted that drugs are a big insecurity, health hazard and town bomb for Liberia as many young people are being addicted on a daily basis.
He made the assertion Tuesday, August 14, 2018 when he served as facilitator at a weeklong seminar organized by the world of Truth church in collaboration with the Spiritual Life Bible College in Caldwell.
Though the WHO executive did not state reliance for his statement, it comes in the wake of alleged increase in the number of illegal drugs in country and its consumption by many young persons in the country.
Dwah lamented on the danger of drugs addiction on people’s life, noting that drugs attacked the most important part of your brain to include brain stem, cerebral Centex and limbic system which are critical to a person’s life.
“Your brain continues to grow and develop up to 24 years so the moment you start to take drugs, it causes serious danger and harm for yourself.”
Accordingly, Dwah explained that there are stages of drug usage that leads to addiction citing Casual users and regular users saying, “When casual users become regular users, they can usually still function at work and school, but they are dangerously close to becoming chemically addicted.”
He further disclosed that chemical addiction is the final stage, in which people with addiction are compelled to use, not for pleasure’s sake, but simply to feel normal, adding that those who reach this stage often deny the seriousness of the situation, even though friends, family and co-workers recognize the problem.
The WHO Consultant named environment lack of finance life style among other things as factors caused by drugs which affect one’s life.
“Drug destroy one’s ability to record information therefore young people should engage into things that would make the brain fresh at all level, therefore there is a need for government and people to put in a mechanism to help reduce the situation,” he concluded.
In May of this year, LRRRC Executive Director, Rev. Festus Logan alarmed that there are over six hundred (600) ghettos across the country and if this is not properly addressed in the soonest possible time, the country stands at a great security threat, thus, ‘zogos’ would increase over the next three to four years as well as creating insecurity for peaceful citizens and other nationals residing in Liberia and expressing his commission determination in removing zogos off the streets.
Zogos are those underprivileged and drugs addicted youth who ply the streets of Monrovia and its environs loading cars, snatching phones and other valuable items from people and with no homes but rather use the ghettos as their homes.
The LRRRC Executive Director indicated at the time that his teams are out in the field and ghettos collecting data of those ‘zogos’ upon which the construction of a transit centers within four or five counties in order to transform those young people for the betterment of the country.