Illegal drugs corrode Namibia

26 May 2016
We are alarmed by the increased illegal drug use in Namibia.  When considering the lack of funding for rehabilitation centres around the country, the social stigma associated with receiving counselling from psychologists and psychiatrists,
insufficient numbers of professional social workers, and the poor training of our police forces and border security apparatus in drug enforcement tactics, the total under-estimation of this problem is dangerous. 
Drugs will destroy every single thing ever built in this great nation if we don’t arrest the situation very soon. 
If we allow the drug culture to take over, the economy will be negatively affected.   Drug dealers paying in cash for luxury goods will hyper-inflate certain markets.   Because such illegal revenues are untaxed, they will skew the supply and demand balance that allows for new businesses and economic growth and investment.
Our youth will spurn jobs at Steers in favour of selling crack cocaine on the street corners.  Every other social challenge we face now will be heightened with a disastrous impact.
The future of the country will be in jeopardy should drugs rule the roost.  Upcoming generations have their minds blasted.   All the job training programmes in the world won’t regenerate brain cells destroyed by crystal meth, ecstasy and glue sniffing. 
Drug related crimes will hit every single household in devastating ways, and all that we sing about in our National Anthem will be reduced to a joke. 
Forget about Harambee, Vision 2030, or any NDP version.  Drugs can undercut them all unless we take arms against drug dealers and importers and the money launderers that make it all possible.
We flinch at the level of corruption in Namibia now, but once drugs and the associated wheelbarrow loads of cash become readily available, graft and drug money payoffs will be everyday activities which will corrode the peace, stability and rule of law we all love about this country.
An informal study was done at a local secondary school and it was uncovered that the majority of the kids there had their first drug use experience at sleep-overs at friends’ houses. 
We were unaware of this development amongst the kids from middle class homes where sleep-overs and visits to friends’ houses used to be regular, fun, innocent, social events. 
What began as sleep over kids sneaking to share a beer and hoping that the watchful hosting parents didn’t catch on seems now to have become groups of kids sleeping over at the houses of lax, permissive and inattentive parents in order to experiment with hard drugs. 
In our view, pure marijuana, unmixed with any chemical additives, should be legalised and controlled, packaged, taxed and discouraged, just like cigarettes.  This will reduce the profitability of street ganja sellers and importers because one of their main revenue sources would be crippled. 
The savings in police time and court docket space that are now spent on marijuana cases, would be reinvested in clamping down on crack, powdered cocaine, methamphetamines, and misuse of prescription painkillers like oxycodone, codeine and morphine. Furthermore, our overcrowded prisons will have a reduction in inmates due to marijuana convictions. 
However, prison sentences for possession and sales of killer drugs need to be increased, rehab centres for those addicted need to be free and available across the country, and aggressive repossession of all cash and anything purchased from the illegal sales of drugs must be enforced with vigour.  These surrendered funds should be invested in rehab and relevant, uplifting, aggressive anti-drug counselling programmes.
Headway in the war against drugs will only be made when reducing drug profits become the focal point of all regulatory and police action.
If the drug importers cannot make money, they will not sell drugs in Namibia. It sounds that simple, but it is most definitely not. Drugs are insidious; they are a dreadful wound that can never be totally healed, only aggressively treated.
We must not let drug abuse slip off our national radar as a key problem that must be handled.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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