Region still battling drug abuse and illicit trafficking

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek – SADC countries are still struggling to curb drug abuse and illicit trafficking. 

This was said by SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, on the commemoration of international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. 

SADC is regarded as one of the regions in the world where drug abuse and illicit trafficking is considered to be favourable by drug dealers. 

The international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was commemorated on June 26 under the theme; “Health for justice. Justice for Health”.

The theme, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), recognises that while justice and health seem very different, they are very closely related when dealing with drug abuse and illicit trafficking. 

According to the UNODC, effective response to the drug abuse and illicit trafficking requires inclusive and accountable institutions of criminal justice, health and social services to work together to provide integrated solutions to the challenge. 

Dr Tax said SADC, like the rest of Africa, recognises that drugs and substance abuse is a cause for great concern because of many challenges that it presents to society, such as family disintegration and slowed economic growth, and is particularly concerned with the proliferation of drugs in schools, colleges and universities. 

Dr Tax said this is affecting young people on whose shoulders the region’s future lies. 

“Nonetheless, as we commemorate the day, we note with satisfaction, the steady progress that SADC continues to make in curbing vending and illicit trafficking in the region. We applaud the chiefs of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation for the tireless efforts in the fight against drug trafficking and for cooperating with other regions and international organisations to prevent and combat transnational and cross-border crimes,” said Dr Tax. 

As a result of these joint operations and efforts, Dr Tax said large quantities of drugs were seized in the region, followed by arrests of drug traffickers. 

 “On this day we reiterate the call on stakeholders in the criminal justice, health and social services sectors to continue to work together to raise awareness about major the major problems that arise from drug abuse and illicit trafficking. This multidisciplinary and integrated approach is required to sustainability address the challenges related to drug production, trafficking and use,” she said.

Dr Tax called upon SADC member states working jointly with the international community to redouble efforts to combat the heinous crime. 

“This year’s international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking should remind us of the urgent need for collaborative efforts to strengthen information sharing systems, enhance bilateral and joint operations and enforcement laws to counter drug abuse and trafficking. The future and our aspirations maybe in jeopardy if we allow drug abuse and illicit trafficking to thrive in the region,” she said.

 

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