Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency Conducts Thematic Session for Agents
Monrovia – The Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has embarked on strategies in combating drug addictions in Liberia that have taken over the young people.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr – [email protected]
As part of its strategy to battle drugs and drug addictions, the Agency has ended a two-day training session for its agents in the areas of handling drug addicts and thematic counseling training.
The Liberia’s civil war ended over ten years ago but the aftermath of the crisis in Liberia is still being felt, with youth and those who participated in the war now addicted to drugs.
During the war ex-combatants including child soldiers took drugs to make them energetic and brave to go to the war front.
The intake of drugs has gotten customary among young people, and has been further fueled by the influx of narcotics and other drugs into the country.
Young people in Liberia today are taking drugs for different reasons; some take drugs to numb their worries over the challenges they face in life, others out of frustration while some take drugs to satisfy their social habit and peer groups among many other causes.
Drug users in Liberia are no longer hiding their habits as some of the Police who are supposed to be helping the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency to combat the drug problem are themselves allegedly involved in doing drugs.
Female drug users at the Center Street cemetery accused Police officers of the Liberia National Police of trading food for drugs.
The females also accused Police officers of demanding sex for freedom after being arrested for smoking drugs.
“They can arrest us for smoking drugs, and when they are carrying us to the Police station, they always put fear in us that they will put us in jail for long time.’
“When we hear that we can start begging them, but they can say no, and the only way they can release us is for them to have sex with us in the graveyard, and me I can agree because I want to be free,” a female drug user at the Center Street graveyard, Patience Dixon told the FrontPage Africa.
It is the responsibility of the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) to combat Drug abuse, all forms of narcotic drugs, and to provide thematic counselling for drugs users when they (drug users) are caught.
One way the LDEA has started combating drug addiction is by providing training for LDEA agents who are normally on the field fighting drugs.
The Chief of Prevention at the LDEA, Robert B. Kutu Akoi said Liberia has been lagging behind, especially in the area of rehabilitation and prevention.
He explained that the training was intended to prepare agents of the DEA for future challenges even as the agency is being faced with budgetary challenges.
“We’re providing the training for our men to know how to handle cases of drugs when they come across it, nowadays peoples’ kids at the age of six are now taking in drugs, so, our men need to be trained in this area. When they come across such cases they will know what to do since there no rehabilitation center here for that,” he explained.
He noted that to combat drugs in Liberia, social support from the community is needed to be given to the LDEA by exposing and providing information about suspected drug users in the communities.
“Those users of drugs live right within the communities and only community dwellers can help us fight the usage of drugs by providing information on drugs users. Relatives of those drug users are in the know but they refuse to expose their relatives,” he noted.
Many believe that the LDEA is not doing anything to curtail the spreading of drugs in the Liberian communities.
“If they say the DEA is not working, then the community too is not working because we need the information from the communities, the DEA agents are not magicians, it is the community dwellers that supposed to give us tip offs,” he said.
The facilitator at the training, Varfee Sherif addressing the issues of drug addiction, counseling and rehabilitation described drug addiction in Liberia as frustrating.
He wants authorities to be supportive of the prevention of drug addiction, saying, if the young people are free from drugs the society will be free.
Mr. Sherif who has worked in the in the field of drug prevent and thematic counseling for more twenty years encourage agents of the DEA to be prepared for challenges that might arise during the combating of drugs in Liberia.
He said to curtail drugs addiction in Liberia the DEA needs to be intense, “They have to be more intense when it comes to combating drugs addiction in Liberia.”
“The DEA has to be more intense when it comes to counseling, it has to be more intense when it comes to school children being prevented from using drugs,” he noted.
Mr. Sherif noted that drugs users need a rehab home where they can go, be counseled and rehabilitated by getting some training that will benefit them upon overcoming their drug habit.
During his facilitation Mr. Sherif urged agents of the DEA to treat drug users as their own, saying, arresting agents of the DEA should not be same people serving as counselors.
“If you are the one who arrested the drug user, you should not be the same person to counsel that person because such person will not have confidence in you to open up,” he explained.
Mr. Sherif urged the government of Liberia to focus on school going kids involve in the intake of drugs.
He calls for the establishment of a rehabilitation center that will enable the DEA to be effective.