Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The fight against the illegal drug trade has to be intensified

Guyana Chronicle editorial, Monday 05 January 2009
The fight against the illegal drug trade has to be intensified

DRUG smuggling and its associate criminal activities perhaps rank equally or
surpasses the capacity of HIV/AIDS pandemic in undermining the economic,
social and moral fabric of society and has grown globally to frightening
proportions and in a large number of societies, many of which are the
poverty-stricken ones, it is a huge problem.
And with seemingly no alternative way out of the grip of poverty many poor
peasants prefer to work along with the drug lords and cultivate coca which
brings in fast and plenty money. This is highly prevalent in poor Latin
American countries and further compounds the problem making the drugs fight
an increasingly difficult one.
Worse yet the drug lords and their cartels because of their massive wealth
control many government, security and a host of key officials at all levels
of society. Therefore their illegal business is well fortified and protected
and those who attempt to put up a fight against drug running or are only has
slight connections are put away by the hired hit men of the powerful drug
lords. Consequently, fear is driven into the society and anyone with
information about the illegal drug business is reluctant to divulge same
which makes the fight against this scourge even more difficult.
So even though almost on a daily basis in all parts of the world busts
against the illegal drug trade are made it continues to soar, as the drug
pushers making increasing use of modern technology and use of more
innovative techniques in peddling their trade.
But the question is often asked if there were no users of illegal drugs
would there be a place for the manufacturers and pushers? The logical answer
to such a question would be: no. However, the stark reality is that the
number of users around the world is astounding and includes some of the
people one would least expect to do so.
But the argument to work towards reducing the number of users as part of the
fight against the use of illegal drugs of course has its obvious merits and
therefore has to be part of any programme to combat the illegal drug
"The illegal drug trade is a worldwide black market consisting of
production, distribution, packaging, and sale of illegal psychoactive
substances. The illegality of the black markets purveying the drug trade is
relative to geographic location, and the producing countries of the drug
markets (many South American, Far East, and Middle East countries) are not
as inclined to have "zero-tolerance" policies, as the consuming countries of
the drug trade (mostly the United States and Europe) are. The economic
reality of the massive profiteering inherent to the drug trade serves to
extend its reach despite the best efforts of law enforcement agencies
worldwide. In the wake of this reality, the social consequences (crime,
violence, imprisonment, social unrest) of the drug trade are undeniably
problematic. The solution to the problems of illegal drug trafficking lies
not in tougher laws or law enforcement, but in the attitudes of people
toward the sale and consumption of such items." (Source: Wikipedia New World
The latter is quite true as anti-drug smuggling laws have been and are being
toughened all over the world but this has had little or no effect in curbing
the illegal business.
In Guyana it is clear from what has been happening recently that the
organised drug rings are on the upsurge as several major busts have
indicated, and therefore we have to intensify the fight to stamp out or
minimise this scourge before it envelops our society to a point of almost no
return. With a small population and being neighbours to where many of the
major players in the international illegal drug trade have their nests our
task is made even more difficult.
However, the security agencies must be commended for making some significant
inroads into the local illegal drug dealers and their networks.
One would hope that in this year's national budget significant financial
resources (within our ability) would be allocated to beef up the capacity
(both human and technical) of those agencies that are responsible for
dealing with this aspect of criminality.
This is not an issue with which we can afford to be complacent because the
future of our nation can become threatened if we allow the drug lords and
their associates to get the upper hand.

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