Liberia Youth Task Team Launches Online Petition Calling On the Legislature to Pass the Amended Law of the Liberian Controlled Drug and Substances Act of 2014

Monrovia — On September 27, 2022, The Liberia Youth Task Team, a subsidiary of the Africa Youth Partnership to advocate an equitable recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, launched an online petition calling on the 54th National Legislature to pass the amended law of the Liberian Controlled Drug and Substances Act of 2014.

Drug abuse is an immense problem that affects the communities or environment in which we live. In Liberia, the COIVD-19 pandemic impacted Drug & Substance Users, Drug Treatment Services, Drug Law Enforcement and Drug Prevention. A reliable and sustainable drug rehabilitation program that provides support for substance users in Liberia seems far from been realized, owing to the fact that there is little to no advocacy around policy formulation.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the undue and harsh living conditions of Disadvantaged/ At-Risk Youth in Liberia. During the pandemic, the Government of Liberia Stimulus Package distribution, that provided food for poor families and other vulnerable groups, didn’t take into account Substance User, Disadvantaged/ At-Risk Youth who usually reside on the streets were neglected. Amara B. Kanneh, a member of the Liberia Youth Task Team said, Substance Users who are usually neglected during regular or normal situations were also neglected during the national emergency and health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic impeded Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) capacity for full enforcement of the drug law. LDEA with its limited manpower seconded over 100 of its agents to beef up the man power of the Joint Security Team that was responsible to enforce the State of Emergency, instituted during the pandemic. LDEA was also unable to celebrate the 2020 International Drug Day due to COVID-19 for the first time in recent years, said Celestine G. Bargor, Co. Team Lead of the Liberia Youth Task Team.

On the part of Team Lead, Jacob B. Swee, Jr., said, before the pandemic, in Liberia, there was already limited access to quality, affordable drug treatment services. This limited access has now been further diminished due to COVID-19, as the pandemic has disrupted services in Liberia and around the world. He further lamented that, during the pandemic Liberia’s only psychiatric hospital, the Esther Grant Hospital, was unable to take in new patients due to the limited material support and feeding for the patients that were undergoing treatment. He also assures the public of the Liberia Youth Task Team’s plan to host a live Facebook conversation that will bring together stakeholders, policymakers, opinion leaders, etc., for a discussion on how drug and substance abuse are impeding individual health and destabilizing our societal fabric.

As we embark on this petition [https://bit.ly/PassTheAmendedDrugLaw], we are pleading with well-meaning Liberians, both home and aboard to rally around us and sign the petition as we call on the 54th National Legislature to pass the amended law of the Liberian Controlled Drug and Substances Act of 2014.

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