Drug Abuse: A menace to education and national development
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Hello wonderful readers, in this edition of Top Class column, we focus on a full text of Demba Ceesay, director of Administration at National Drug Enforcement Agency during one-day symposium held at Da Vinci Senior Secondary Technical School, Nemasu, West Coast Region on 30th May 2012. The symposium was organized by the Science and Maths Ambassadors of the school.Read the excerpts of the speech as it was delivered at the symposium:
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
very honoured to speak on the theme ‘The Effects of Drug Abuse.’However, with your permission Mr.
Chairman, I would rather fine-tune my discussion to the topic: Drug Abuse, a
Menace to Education and National Development.
Today, I would like to speak to you students about something that has become the number one enemy of youths of modern times: that is drugs and the dangers they pose to youths and national development. Indeed drug abuse and drug trafficking has become so topical that hardly a day passes without it becoming a subject of discussion somewhere in a seminar, conference, passing out ceremonies, in the press/media or even at our village ‘bantabas.’
rise of globalization, drug abuse and trafficking has risen to unprecedented
proportion. In a globalized world, people, ideas, organizations and commodities
including drugs flow rapidly from place to place tied through the open market,
through advanced communication systems, and indeed through rapid transportation
Consequently, The Gambia, like other countries in the sub-region, has been exposed to the harsh realities of being a target of drug production, destination and transit. As production and destination, the target is Gambian youths, mostly school-going children. As transit, the target is our borders as traffickers exploit the friendly nature of Gambians and our inherent culture of silence to perpetuate their heinous trade. Either way, the cost to education and national development is high and must not go unchallenged.
What are abused drugs?
drugs, otherwise referred to as illicit drugs are natural, synthetic and
semi-synthetic substances which have been found to affect the functions of the
central nervous system causing unconsciousness, unwanted and undesirable
feelings and sometimes leading to gross misdemeanors, mental illness or
It is the consequences emanating from drug abuse that have
become a threat to social cohesion and intellectual growth of the youth. It is
these consequences that are also having adverse effects on youths thereby
affecting their intellectual growth and limiting their participation in
How do drugs affect youths and development?
drugs are illicit drugs that the law prohibits their production, manufacture,
possession, distribution, use, and trafficking as they are prohibited. Drugs
can either be prohibited drugs or controlled drugs. For the purpose of this
discussion, we shall concentrate on prohibited drugs.
Prohibited or abused drugs could be classified into three main groups based on their effects on users:
STIMULANTS: These are substances that accelerate or activate the activities of the Central Nervous System by making it function faster than normal. They are highly dependence drugs and users tend to be hooked into using and depending on them: They include: Cocoa leave, Cocaine Hydrochloride, Crack Cocaine.
leave:The cocoa tree thrives best
in high altitude and wet zones in South America and Asia (Mexico Brazil
Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, etc).
Cocaine Hydrochloride: Is a white or cream crystalline powder obtained from cocoa leaves after chemical transformations. It is usually consumed by sniffing, or smoking in special pipes made by users. It could also be mixed with tobacco or cannabis herbs and smoked. Cocaine could also be dissolved in alcohol or lemon juice and injected in the body. Cocaine Hydrochloride is a highly dependent drug.
Cocaine is cocaine in cream or light brown stone form, but more concentrated on
psychoactive elements. It is consumed by smoking in pipes, but could also be
dissolved in alcohol or lemon juice and injected in muscles. Crack is highly
dependent and very expensive.
DEPRESSORS: They are substance that depress, relent or slow the functions of the central nervous system by inhibition. They also provoke anesthetic and sedative effects on users. They include the following:opium, morphine, heroin.
Opium: It is latex obtained by scratching the green capsules of a plant called Pavot, papayer-sumniferium album or opium poppy.At first the latex appears as a thick white substance, but when in contact with the air, it becomes a dark brown paste.Opium can be eaten, smoked raw or mixed with tobacco or cannabis herbs.
Morphine: This type of drug is obtained from opium after chemical transformation and was named after Morphee, Greek name for God of Sleepiness. Morphine usually appears in a very light white powder and is consumed by sniffing, smoking or dissolved and injected in muscles.
Heroin: Heroin is obtained after chemical transformation of morphine and appears in white, light brown, brown, light blue colours. It is a highly dependent drug and very expensive.
C) HALLUCINOGENS: They are substances that interrupt or perturb functions of the central nervous system by causing poor or faking perception of distances, spaces, colors, and images thereby creating hallucinations on users. They include: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis herbs, Cannabis oil, Cannabis resin or hashes, inhalants.
Cannabis Sativa: Researchers on the drug have discovered at least 360 names of it. Locally, it is referred to, among other names as Cannabis Sativa locally known as marijuana, jamba, dagga, kiff, zamal, kally, kanja, hash.Cannabis sativa is the most used drug in the world and also in the Gambia due to its ability in adapting to different climates. Cannabis sativa could appear in three different forms that are herbs, oil, and resin (hashish).
Cannabis herbs: It is the leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis cut in tobacco form. It is usually smoked alone or sometimes mixed with cigarettes or consumed orally like tea.
Cannabis oil: It is a light-brown oily substance obtained after some processing of leaves and seeds of the plant Cannabis Sativa.This oil is consumed by rubbing it on cigarette or joins of cannabis and smoked. It can also be mixed with food and eaten.Cannabis resin or hashes: This are secretions collected from leaves of the plant Cannabis Sativa. It is usually in green olive or brown color but can also be mixed with any other color to camouflage it. Hashish is highly concentrated in psychoactive elements and can be smoked in special pipes, eaten with food or drink with “attaya” or any other tea.
Inhalants: These are industrial and cosmetic volatile products diverted from there main propose and used as intoxication substances. They are benzene, toluene, and gasoline, and correction fluid evo-stick, glue and rubber solution. They are usually inhaled by users through their nose and mouth.’
Author: Aji Fatou Faal