Over the years, the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking has been on the rise especially among youths.
This trend has continued to remain a major challenge to governments at both regional and international levels.
No wonder, the United Nations General Assembly set aside twenty-sixth of June annually to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Accordingly, the commemoration of the day seeks to strengthen action and cooperation among nations so as to achieve a society, free from drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
For instance, the UN report and conclusions of the nineteen eighty-seven International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking have been ratified with Nigeria and parts of the African Continent charting an effective roadmap at checking the rising trend.
These roadmaps are designed to inspire people across the continent and mobilize support for drug control as well as raise awareness on the major problem that the illicit drugs trade can represent.
According to records, for two decades, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been helping to make the world safer from drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism.
Around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the year 2021 while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders, according to the 2021 UNODC.
The new report further shows that drug markets have swiftly resumed operations after the initial disruption at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic; a burst that has triggered or accelerated certain pre-existing trafficking dynamics across the global drug market.
Among these are: increasingly larger shipments of illicit drugs, a rise in the frequency of overland and water-way routes used for trafficking, greater use of private planes for the purpose of drug trafficking, and an upsurge in the use of contactless methods to deliver drugs to end-consumers.
For one, no individual, family or community can be regarded as safe from illicit drugs, even as governments through their various agencies have been vigorously tackling the menace.
Drugs can destroy lives and communities, undermine good human development index and generate crime as well as act as catalyst, against purposeful socio-economic and political agenda.
Without mincing words, drug abuse can affect the productive sector.
Apart from the threat against dependable health and well-being of mankind and the cause of political instability of nations, sustainable democratic culture and peaceful co-existence is also not spared as well.
Besides the challenges posed by drug abuse to one’s health, the continuous killings by drug barons in Mexico, the US and other South American countries calls for concern.
While the UN regards the global drug problem as a shared responsibility, various countries, must join in the fight to promote multilateral, regional, sub-regional and bilateral cooperation among judicial and law enforcement agencies, in dealing with criminal organizations.
This, this requires an integrated and balanced approach in conformity with its existing charter.
In Nigeria, the issue has been described as a ravaging epidemic by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa.
This is due to the daily spread in the number of users and traffickers.
According to him, the problem of drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria is on its way to being under control.
Bayelsa State also has had its fair share of the menace as local reports during election seasons indicate an increase in the exchange of illicit drugs, guns and many others among youths in most riverine communities with the state capital not left out.
In a briefing to mark this year’s celebration, the state commander of NDLEA, Ali Aminu explained that the command, between January and June this year, has arrested 57 males and 11 females summing it up to 68.
The command further noted that 34.526 kilograms and 630 milligrams of different drugs were seized between these periods while in March of this year, 1 hectare of Cannabis farm was discovered and harvested in Oruma Community, Ogbia Local Government Area.
While the state command of NDLEA is doing its best to rid the area of such, there is need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders and government as well.
To this end, identifying the most vulnerable sectors involved in illicit drug market is imperative for eradicating illicit cultivation, manufacturing and trafficking.
Aside the work already done, there is need for local governments to sensitize the people in synergies with NDLEA and other organizations.
It is also imperative for the NDLEA to partner government established Rehabilitation Centers in all local governments areas to bring speedy help to victims of drug abuse and by extension ensure each local government have its own special command.