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07.08.2006 General News

GHANA NEEDS A DRUGS CZAR & POLICY

By Story by Xoese DOGBE-Daily Express
GHANA NEEDS A DRUGS CZAR & POLICY
LISTEN AUG 7, 2006

The recent national shock about increasing drug cases and the implication of senior security officials in the supposed drug net means the country needs to strategize and adopt a clear policy to salvage the situation.

Among the solutions should be the creation of an office of a National Drug Czar- a National Drug Enforcement Agency, says Prince Nicholas Zu, an MA Candidate at New York's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration of the Syracuse University.

According to Nicholas Zu, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency must be nominated by the president but has to be approved by parliament to “ensure independence however, he will be answerable to parliament and will as part of his core functions present a national drug policy (NDP) to parliament.”

Mr. Zu who has taken a number of courses in drugs, crime & terrorism told the dailyEXPRESS that the national drug policy should give a clear picture of the current drug situation and spell out a policy action plan to deal with it in the short, medium and long term.

“The NDP so presented should address the issues of demand and supply reduction as well as treatment and rehabilitation of drug users and addicts” he added.

Though there currently exist a Narcotics Control Board with a commission now in place to investigate recent disturbing developments in the drug enforcement front, Mr. Zu says it is not enough and holistic. He however applauds the efforts of the Justice Georgina Wood Commission and the Justice Minister which have led to the passing of the new legislation by parliament to not granting bail to drug suspects.

But according to him, the proposed National Drug Czar must be a direct link between the presidency and various institutions involved in the 'war on drugs' coordinating “(i) the law enforcement agencies (Interior- under which falls the narcotics control board, National Security & Defense Ministries) in charge of drug interdiction, arrests and investigations, (ii) the Justice ministry in charge of anti-drug legislation and prosecution, and (iii) liaise with international organizations like the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, NGOs and agencies of bilateral partners like USAID in the field of drugs prevention to make sure policies being pursued are up to date & consistent with internationally established conventions & treaties.”

Mr. Zu says in order to effectively manage this function, the director of the drug enforcement agency must be a member of the National Security Council and tasked to periodically brief cabinet on the national drug situation.
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