Former Maryland County Senator John Ballout has vowed a nationwide awareness campaign against illicit drugs, saying the campaign will generate a peaceful match at the legislature to petition lawmakers to amend the drugs laws of the country. The former lawmaker also said the campaign would be led by a group he identified as “We the people Camping”, that will mitigate the proliferation of illicit drugs across the country.
Speaking in an interview with this paper yesterday at his Maryland Guesthouse office in Sinkor, Senator Ballout explained that the “we the People camping” is a non-political movements that comprises like-minded and concern Liberians and parents who want to see the country on the path of sustainable development and mitigation of illicit drugs trafficking.
According to the Former ruling Unity Party stalwart, the proliferation of illicit drugs trafficking across the country is seriously damaging the youthful generation and damaging their human resource capacity and increasing crime rate in the country.
Mr. Ballout added that the country is exposed to drug dealers and traffickers because the country is having weak drugs laws; something he said is responsible for the influx of illicit drugs across the country.
Former Senator furthered that since the war, the government has not been able to institute stronger measures against drug trafficking, nor have the government attempted to enact any law that would make illicit drug peddling non-bailable.
Mr. Ballout believes that a tougher stand against illicit drug peddling and trafficking would protect the generation and stop foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, from importing drugs and dangerous substances into the country.
Mr. Ballout disclosed that illicit drugs issue is seriously damaging the youthful generation of the country because most youth are not thinking of improving themselves, rather they are adapting to drug addiction.
“There’s a huge crime rate in the country. The youthful generation is without a future. Liberians have nobody to spearhead the future leadership drive only because they are adapted to drugs and thinking of how they can satisfy that desire. If we can make stronger laws against illicit drugs and focus on building a generation of moral and productive youth, then they can become good future leaders”, Senator Ballout explained.
He named Nimba, Maryland, Montserrado, Bong, and Bassa counties as areas that is hard hit with illicit drugs dealers.
Meanwhile, he said the country will be protected from drug trafficking provided the government amends all the drugs laws and make sure that the laws are non-bailable, adding that they will staged a peaceful match at the legislature to petition them for the amendment of the drugs laws.
He also called on the government to upgrade the public rehabilitation Center and build more for illicit drugs users across the country, adding that it’s saddening that a country that has over forty thousand drug users is having just one rehabilitation center, the Catherine Mills Rehabilitation Center.
He further called on the government to institute a technical vocational rehabilitation program that will help youth who are drug users to get skills that will make them self-reliant to contribute to the development of the country after being rehabilitated.
“Let the government institute training and psychology workshops that will help Communities to understand how to track drug dealers,” he advised.
He maintained that the lack of political will on the part of the past regime headed by former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has failed the country from curbing drug trafficking in the country.
He then called on citizens to work with the government of Liberia and other partners to make sure that drugs dealers across the country are exposed and arrested to stop damaging the society and the youthful generation.