House Passes Act To Control Drug, Substance Abuse
By Dorcas T. Gboerreh-Boe
MONROVIA, Nov. 14 (LINA) – The plenary of the House of Representatives has passed and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for onward deliberations and concurrence.
“AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 14 OF THE NEW PENAL LAW OF LIBERIA UNDER THE TITLE “OFFENSE INVOLVING DANGER TO THE PERSON “BY ADDING THERETO SUB-CHAPTER (E) UNDER THE TITLE “CONTROLLED DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ACT OF 2014”.
Plenary’s decision over the weekend followed a communication from Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative Thomas Goshua in 2019 that has been lingering in the committee room and a petition signed by over fifty(50) members of the House of Representatives.
The bill when concurred with by the Liberian Senate will provide penalties for drug possession or use, supply, trafficking, production, an alternative to incarceration, harm reduction, public health and human rights, confiscation of properties, among others, and will also reduce the number of disadvantage youths in the streets.
Speaking to LINA shortly after the passage of the bill, Rep. Goshua explained that the reason for introducing the bill is because it has been observed that drugs and substance abuse have contributed negatively to the growth of the younger generation, adding that the proliferation of illicit drugs in Liberia has led several youths to become uncontrollable and are being referred to as “Zogos”.
Rep. Goshua indicated that although there are penalties prescribed by respective legislation initiated before his ascendency to the 54th National Legislature, they appear to leave a lot of room for judicial discretion based on the circumstances of each individual case in as much as the Liberian law appears to dictate minimum or maximum sentence for offense ranging from one year to ten years in prison for possession.
He also stated that the amendment process was intended to address the gaps, and judicial discretions left within the amended version of 2014.
The Grand Bassa County lawmaker further thanked his colleagues, the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency, all civil society actors, national and international partners, and the West Africa Drug Policy Network for their overwhelming support in ensuring that drugs and substance abuse comes to an end in the country.
He has promised to work with his colleagues at the Liberian Senate for speedy concurrence to bring the issue of drug and substance abuse to an end.