Pres. Boakai Declares Drugs And Substance Abuse ‘Public Health Emergency’

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By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper

Liberia: Liberia’s President Joseph Boakai has declared the use of drugs and substance abuse as a national public health emergency across the country.

President Boakai made the declaration on Monday 29 January 2024 at the joint chambers of the Legislature while delivering his first State of the Nation Address.

The President’s decision is triggered by the increase in the number of illicit-drugs users, particularly among Liberian youth.

It is estimated that 2 in 10 youth in Liberia are users of narcotic substances.

“The drugs epidemic, especially the use of KUSH in our country is an existence threat eating away at the future of children and the country. I am hereby declaring drugs and substance abuse as a Public Health Emergency” President Boakai added.

The increase in the number of drugs users across the country has resulted into the increase wave of crimes.

Reports from the Ministry of Youth and Sports have linked factors responsible for the growth population of drugs users to peer pressure, poverty, sexual and physical abuse, weak family support system among others.

On 30th June 2023, the government of Liberia under president George Weah launched a national fund drive in support of a program for the rehabilitation and empowerment of At-Risk Youth in the country.
The program aims to provide rehabilitation, skills training, social integration and employment opportunities for At-Risk Youth across Liberia.

It seems that President Boakai is following the path of his predecessor for a drug free nation.

To achieve this, President Boakai has set up a committee comprising of the Ministry of Health – Chair, Ministry of Justice – Co Chair, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Gender Children and social protection Ministry, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency.
He at the sametime called on all government officials to do their drugs test.

“In this fight, me and my vice president we will be the first to take a drug test and I urge all others to follow”, the Liberian Leader stated.

Meanwhile, President Joseph Boakai is calling on the legislature to pass effective legislation to fight corruption in the country.

According to President Boakai, when effective legislation are pass and institutions responsible for enforcement are strengthened, it will help set Liberia free from corrupt acts.

“I am counting on this honorable body to pass effective legislation and support financial appropriations this will help us win the fight against corruption” he said.

The Liberian Leader emphasized that “ Any one caught inthe act of corruption will face the full weight of the law, with swift and non-discrimatory enforcement”.

President Boakai at the same time noted that his government remain committed to ensuring a good governance for all Liberians.

The Liberian head of state has set transparency, accountability and the rule of law as a guiding tool for his government’s agenda.

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