Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Statement made by the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior on the celebration of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The theme for this year's celebration is “Let us develop our lives, our communities, our identities without drugs.” It is important to note that, illicit drugs pose a great threat to any community, any nation, any sub-region, and any continent. And the examples are there. In certain parts of South America, there are great sways of instability as a result of the fact that illegal drugs have taken over the economies of those particular areas.
I would want to be subtle, I do not want to mention any of the countries' names. This is because some of them have close relations with us. So I would concentrate on the fact that, we have young people in Parliament today that illicit drugs are a danger to, not only to the people themselves.
Mr Speaker, we have certain types of drugs that are used by people all over the world. We have cocaine that is derived from the coca plant; we have heroine, which is derived from the opium plant. We also have marijuana, which comes in various forms as the cannabis sativa and so on. We also have ecstasy, which is what we call a recreation drug used by young people in the West. When they go to parties and others, it gives them some kind of a better experience to enjoy themselves, they claim.
These are all addictives. They give a person a certain dependence that cuts one's life by about 80 per cent. One would not be functioning fully because his or her dependence on these drugs would hamper his ability to perform his duties in any society. That is why the conventional wisdom is against illicit drugs. They may be enjoyable when one is taking them but they have a very bad effect.
Mr Speaker, those who deal in drugs and make profit from drugs, because of the manner in which they make their money, are able to corrupt worthy institutions in any society.
In one country in North America, certain areas, as I said are ungovernable. A lot of people are murdered day in day by drug cartels. The word “cartel”, which was formerly about the proper trade and monopolies and everything, has now been associated with something that is very illicit and illegal.
Mr Speaker, from the last count, it seems as if over US$750 billion is what the illicit drug trade is worth. So it shows us that so much money is made, so much money to corrupt. We have got that. Then we also have the fact that, once communities are affected by drugs, those communities, like human beings, cannot function. Those communities then become a canker in the nation and it becomes a problem.
Mr Speaker, our job now is to ensure that, we have the right institutions to be able to fight the drug menace in this country, in West Africa, in Africa and the world at large. This is because the drug menace does not restrict itself to smaller communities.
It needs more people to be addicted, therefore, it is something that spreads like a disease or an epidemic. Therefore, we cannot work alone. We have NACOB, but NACOB has got to work in tangent with other international anti-drug agencies in order to be able to be effective.
It is up to us to support NACOB with all the necessary resources. I agree very much with Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, when he says that, to change it from an Agency to a Commission should not be a mere cosmetic exercise. It should be backed by the right kind of resources, the right kind of equipment and the right kind of personnel, so that we could eliminate or reduce this menace that threatens to engulf our country, because we have quite a lot of people who are addicted to drugs in our society.
Some of us who went to secondary schools are reminded of some of our friends who have either lost their lives or they have lost their minds as a result of drug addiction. I personally have lost
relatives through drugs, so I am talking from a personal experience too.
What we have to do is to ensure that, our society is made aware of the menace, not only fighting it, but all the children and the youth are made aware of the menace.
So, in keeping with what we are saying, let us develop our lives, our communities and our identities without drugs. It is important that we take this theme and work on it for the year, so that when another theme comes it would improve on what we are doing in the fight against illicit drugs and illegal drugs.
That is what I would like to say in the meantime.
Thank you very much.