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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 18:37 GMT
Does Africa have a drug problem?
drug seizure
Illegal drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse are on the rise in Africa, says the United Nations. How seriously should we be taking this problem?

Worldwide, it seems that Nigerian gangs are taking over heroin smuggling. Ghanaian MP Eric Amoateng is awaiting trial in New York for allegedly smuggling over $6m worth of heroin into the United States.

In Zanzibar 8% of young people are heroin addicts, and in South Africa one-third of teenagers experiment with drugs.

How serious a problem are drugs in your community? Do you or anyone you know use drugs? How do you feel about drug use, does it have any place in African society?

This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below.

Africa is not the deadliest of players in the drug game
Senait Tewolde, Canada
I must admit, asking if Africa has a drug problem seems to me as very disrespectful. Don't get me wrong, raising public awareness is crucial, however, I think many commentators have made it clear that Africa is not the deadliest of players in the drug game. I think reports as sensational as this do great harm to African people, certainly more harm than good: because there is no place for drugs in African society.
Senait Tewolde, Canadian-Eritrean

It is a concern to Malawi in particular as her airports are being used as a conduit for drugs from the South Africa and Asia to Tanzania and beyond. Locally it is assumed not strange to hear teenagers taking hemp. What kind of Africa are we building?
George Chapotera, Zomba, Malawi

I have never in my life touched drugs or alcohol. People should stop saying that Nigeria is in a mess with drugs. What about America, Britain or Switzerland?
Maduabuchukwu Olisa, Oraukwu Nigeria

Perhaps the West should deal with their own drugs business, and try to stem that flow
S.Krishnan, Ethiopia
I feel that Africa would not have such a great problem with drugs if there wasn't so much market for it in the West. Perhaps the West should deal with their own drugs business, and try to stem that flow. Furthermore, there truly are more pressing matters than that of drugs at the moment, which could use tending to.
S.Krishnan, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As someone who used to love African grass as a teenager, my only problem is that I never see it for sale anymore.
Karl, Leeds, UK

They must have reasons for what they are doing or they are just trying to fit in. I'm a teenager and I've been thinking about it, but my future is more important.
Shinaz, Swaziland

Drugs has become a serous problem in our community. It enters day by day deep inside each family and the parents nowadays must work hard not only for their life but also keep an eye on their young children not to be attacked by drugs. On the local newspaper, Thanh Nien, they wrote a story about a very young girl who falls from the top of famous, young and beautiful girls to a street woman. Drugs send her to a deep place in society. But now, she is reformed and happy with a new job. She has become a good example to young people.
Co Lau, Hochiminh city, Vietnam

I do feel that indeed, the use of class A drugs in particular is a potentially serious epidemic brewing in Africa. Africa traditionally was more of a transit route for these drugs to more lucrative markets but slowly more and more drugs are ending up on the streets. I for one intend to specialise in substance misuse and addiction studies for that region and some viewers are absolutely right, more research and services need to be in place. For starters we are only guessing on the extent of the problem and haven't got an evidence-based approach to this issue.
Dr.Andrew Ntanda, Hastings UK

I read a Nigerian being a bit apprehensive because they are mentioned as being "drug gangs". But I think that is something to admire given how sophisticated you need to be to control a global business whether be it legal or illegal. I agree with the comments that Nigerians constitute the most successful, proud and aggressive of all Afro people. Further, I think in the case of marijuana the debate whether to classify it as drug or not should be taken seriously in Africa.
Azimio, Helsinki, Finland

I agree with people smuggling drugs because African people are poor, even me too I would do the same. I am 24 yrs old thanks bye
Bosser, Cape town, South Africa

One can either use it or abuse it
Paulo Muzuza, Angola
Drugs! Drugs! Drugs!! In Africa we have plenty. One can either use it or abuse it. However, a crime is a crime and the law must take its role to prevent it. The fight is and should be ongoing and one day, though not so soon, hope may come.
Paulo Muzuza, Luanda, Angola

The problem with the security agencies in my country is that they are 10 % drug addicts. So how can a thief catch a thief?
Brima Massaquoi, Freetown Sierra Leone

Yes, drugs are bad and not to be condoned, but they do not originate from Nigeria and certainly it is not only Nigerian criminals that participate in their supply. How come no one has mentioned the North African countries that have easier access to the Mediterranean and Europe?
Uwem, Kent, Nigeria/UK

What about the fields of Afghanistan and Colombia?
Wamuyu, Germany
The same UN and the world have not done anything about the fields of Afghanistan and Columbia so if as they say cultivation is on the rising Africa then add that to the list. What seems incomprehensible is how the West devotes so much time, resources and media time chasing Africans as traffickers when they know very well where the stuff is grown and processed. Shouldn't it be obvious that if the fields of Afghanistan and Columbia among others are wiped out no one on any continent will have a drug problem? Should the world continue to let those poor farmers grow unregulated coca and opium for humane reasons while treating decent African travellers inhumanely at borders on drug-trafficking suspicions?
Wamuyu , Hamburg, Germany

I have lived in Johannesburg for the last 23 years. I have seen the changes in Hillbrow and Berea, and Yeoville too. Once great night spots with music and streets full of everyday people have now become the havens of the 'Drug lords'. But nothing seems to be done about it. We have such a corrupt police force that just turn a blind eye. When will someone stand up and say no more.
Concerned Citizen, Johannesburg South Africa

I grew up in an affluent suburban neighbourhood and I'd estimate that around 80% of my high school graduating class (1998) smoked marijuana on a daily basis. The US war on drugs is a miserable failure. Especially high drug use statistics among D.A.R.E. graduates should be pretty definitive evidence of that.
Chronic The Hedgehog, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

The meaning of what is considered as drugs change from one country or community to another. For example Khat, which is a stimulant plant, is banned in many European countries, but is legal in Eastern Africa and has been consumed for hundreds of years. Let's come with a proper definition of 'drugs' and take action to save those who are at risk.
Muchugi Kamau, Nairobi, Kenya

Drugs are overshadowed by other problems
Madalo, Malawi/USA
I learned about drugs while in high school. At that time people were just experimenting with marijuana just like they were doing with alcohol. Several years later, my own family is struggling with family members who are drug and alcohol addicts. The challenge comes in looking at it as a big problem since they are still alive and working. The addiction is looked at as a lesser evil compared to the AIDS epidemic that is devastating not only my family, but Malawi as a whole. Yes we do have a serious problem in Africa, I know and love people who have used and are dependent on drugs. But sadly I realize that this would not be considered a "problem" in my country let alone the whole world as it is overshadowed by other problems, like AIDS, poverty and corruption.
Madalo, Indianapolis, Indiana/Malawi

I think Africa as a continent should take this problem very seriously because most of the drug barons base their work in African countries and again security should be heightened on African borders in such a way that everybody who comes in and goes out of the borders are thoroughly checked.
Judy Kiplagat, Nairobi, Kenya

To say Africa has got a drug problem is relative. Out of poverty, Africans will smuggle drugs and risk jail sentences to make money. They do not actually take drugs as compared to the level of consumption in Europe and North America.
Taiwo Olateju, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why is there so much mention of Nigerians in this forum? I guess it shows a tribalist and nationalistic feeling against Nigerians in most southern and eastern African countries. It is paradoxical that the immeasurable successes of Nigerians in most former white- dominated African countries have blinded the minds and views of the now dominant blacks in these countries, since they were brought up under the misconception that white success was 'normal' and black success 'abnormal'. Even in western and central Africa, most parts of the economy are dominated by Nigerians, who are also resented by indigenes. I have experienced such unfounded prejudice in most French-speaking African countries.
Ojukwu, London, UK/Nigeria

I don't think that the question can be answered since no survey or research has been done on this issue in Africa. However, in Nigeria people prefer marijuana because it is more affordable. In a country with lawlessness like Nigeria, anything is possible.
John Okoye, Enugu, Biafra

My old grandfather uses marijuana as his morning tea
Eric Mbumbouh, Cameroon
Drug is not a bad thing at all. It all depends on how you use it and whether you give it the respect it deserves. My old grandfather usually uses marijuana as his morning tea, and told me that, it makes him live longer.
Eric Mbumbouh, Bamenda, Cameroon

The local "drug" which is a chronic problem to the young generation in Ethiopia is 'Chat' - some people write it as 'Khat'. I wish there was some law prohibiting the use of this plant by youngsters. Or at least limiting usage of the plant.
Haile, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

It is almost a crime to tell people you are a Nigerian these days. We (Nigerians) have painted ourselves so black that it will take the grace of God to wipe us clean. Please fellow Nigerians, remember the Nigerian adage that says good name is better than silver or gold. I am a proud Nigerian just not proud to tell people that.
Olatubosun Olujuyigbe, Atlanta, USA

First of all illegal drugs are inherently wrong and their cultivation/processing/trafficking must be stopped. But what is more baffling is BBC's blatant accusation that ¿Nigerian gangs are taking over heroin smuggling.¿ It reminds me years ago when I stopped over in Rome while returning to Toronto; two Nigerians returning to Rome where openly stripped searched and accused loudly of carrying drugs. The custom officer squeezed their belly and made very humiliating comments like ¿you are Nigerians¿ you must have swallowed drugs.¿ Now you wonder where the custom officers gets their intelligence. BBC of course.
Joe Chike, Ontario

It's cheaper to pop an "e" than drink yourself drunk
Chad, South Africa
Smoking cannabis or dagga, as it is called in South Africa, has always been there and always will. The khoi khoi traded in this hundreds of years ago. I have no problem with it. I do however have a problem with the harder drugs that are flooding South Africa now. They aren't expensive at all. It's cheaper to pop an "e" and get high the whole night than to drink yourself drunk.
Chad, South Africa

I cannot recollect when your column ever presented something positive about my beloved Africa. In response to your question, no, Africa does not have a drug problem and will never have. How did the United Nations' research team come up with their mathematical claim on the rise of illegal drug trafficking and abuse in Africa? There are so much drug problems in the Western world. Africa should not be labeled as an exception.
Afolabi Balogun, Hamilton, New Jersey, USA

If Africa has a problem, then the USA and Mexico are messed up.
Barbara, Ohio, United States

Africans take the risk and European nations benefit from the transaction.
Moibah Nyengbeh, Kissidougou, Guinea

Do we blame poverty, unemployment or greed for the rise in illegal cultivaton and trafficking of drugs by Africans? To that extent, an MP from my own country has been charged with illegal drug trafficking.
Ahmed Ibrahim-Anyass, Legon/Accra-Ghana

Africa has as much an addiction problem as anywhere else on the planet
Gareth Carter, South Africa
I have worked in Addiction Treatment centres in both Africa and Europe. Africa has as much an addiction problem as anywhere else on the planet, currently estimated to be around 10% of the population regardless of geographic location. Addiction is no respecter of race, class, creed, or religion and is the great equaliser. Judges, doctors, priests & imams become addicted too.

Some people are predisposed towards addiction as a result of complex biological, psychological & social factors and others become addicted as a response to life's struggles. Whatever the reason, how & why someone becomes addicted is not nearly as important as what we can do about it. The one program that's had unprecedented results in helping people to get clean and stay clean is the 12 step recovery fellowship - Narcotics Anonymous.
Gareth Carter, Cape Town, South Africa/The Hague, Netherlands

In Ghana, some students claim they use marijuana for their studies, but they end up going mad! For others, the quickest way to be rich is to engage in the drug business. Since most governments in Africa are inefficient in tackling the slightest problem, the drug menace can't be solve
Micky Fianko, Kumasi, Ghana

When I came to Holland I saw using drugs is a way of life
Prince Tony Abban Brown, Netherlands
I only knew of marijuana when I was in secondary school, which my close friends were smoking. When I came to Holland I saw that using those drugs like cocaine, heroine and marijuana is a way of life. I think my brothers and sisters who happened to be in the western world took this behaviour to the continent of Africa. At the same time we must not forget what is called DEMOCRACY. Using drugs, freedom of speech, dressing the way you feel is all part and parcel of democracy. But Africans have lived a very respectable and decent life. I don't think that democracy should change our way of life.
Prince Tony Abban Brown, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Let's talk about solving this problem. Parents, celebrities and other role models must rise to the challenge of dissuading our youths from the use of drugs.
Oyamendan Azonabor, Lagos, Nigeria

Africa is only a transit route for hard drugs. Only a few have the money to buy and use cocaine and heroine. The only drug that is widely used is marijuana. In fact it is sold on every street corner or football field in Lagos.
Chinedu Ibeabuchi, Lagos, Nigeria

If when I was a child I was told cigarettes were dangerous, I may not be smoking today
Elias, USA
If, when I was a child I was told that cigarettes were dangerous, I may not be smoking today. In Africa awareness in smoking or drug use is almost non-existent. We should teach our children about the danger of drugs, cigarettes, khat (Ethiopia), aids etc... If properly told our children will listen.
Elias, Virginia, USA

Some people are inherently susceptible to be drug addicts. Look at smoker's addiction. Drugs are inherently cheap. It is the illegality that raises the costs and it is this cost that causes 90% of the problems with drug addicts. In western countries there is a vast pool of addiction to legally prescribed drugs, but it is hidden. All use should be legal, but all users must be held responsible for their actions 'while under the influence'.
Alastair James Berry, Nanaimo BC, Canada

Yes, Africa does have a drugs problem, especially in the Cape Flats and Soweto and Johannesburg with all the Nigerians bringing in drugs and girls for prostitution.
Marium, South Africa

My problem is the blatant accusation that Nigerians are behind the illegal drug trade
Anon, Nigeria
I am a Nigerian and I do not condone the use of drugs. My problem is the blatant accusation that Nigerians are behind the illegal drug trade. Don't we have people from other countries who are involved in these trade? I think that Nigerians are victims in these regard. I am not protecting Nigeria and Nigerians, neither am stating that Nigerians are angels as some Nigerians have being involved in unscrupulous deeds. I think that it is just too convenient to label any drug smuggler as a Nigerian.
Anonymous, Nigeria, Lagos

Sixteen years ago, I was strip-searched at Heathrow Airport for allegedly concealing drugs on my person. In my 41 years I have never seen, let alone touched, cocaine, heroine or any other hard drug. The only reason I was singled out for such humiliating treatment was because I was travelling on a Nigerian passport. I am in no way denying that there is a global drug trade involving Nigerians as well as other nationals. However, I believe that the Nigerian role in this despicable trade has been blown out of proportion.
Adewale Adebanjo, London, UK

We in Africa our drug problem are not great as to those in the west. but may become complicated if not tackle due to poverty.
Julius Smith, Zwedru, Liberia

It is sad but true that the young people who should be directing their efforts toward building their respective nations are wasting their lives doing drugs. The suppliers are the "top top well-to-do's" whom I call traitors to their nations and humanity.
Catherine, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

I think that poverty could be an underlying factor in promoting the smuggling of drugs across international borders and an increase in the trade. I know of a former schoolmate who got mad as a result of taking India hemp. This was essentially an aspect of boys experimenting the feel that goes with getting a high.
Israel Ambe Ayongwa, Bamenda, Cameroon

The last time I saw him was in a coffin
Azeez, Nigeria
We would be fooling ourselves if we think that drug abuse isn't a problem yet. I had a friend who got into the hard drug business a long time ago. The last time I saw him was in a coffin. Our governments should take the issue more seriously.
Azeez, Lagos, Nigeria

The smoking of Cannabis Sativa is a growing phenomenon in Africa. While growing up in Kenya and Tanzania I have observed many youth getting involved in this bad habit. Some colleagues even dropped out of schools due to the drug abuse. The use of cannabis is growing due to the fact that others, mainly the idle and unemployed, are now using it as a source of earning income. In some states in India it has been actually legalised so the low class peasants can indulge in it. This drug has been used by many societies for a long time. However the new entries like heroin are very frightening.
Abdul iBayumi, Arusha Tanzania

Everybody takes drugs anywhere! But when it comes to abuse, it is a danger! I used to smoke marijuana and excess alcohol just to forget my days of genocide and now I do drink a lot when I come to remember.
Arnaud Emmanuel Ntirenganya, Bamenda, Rwanda/Cameroon

If it is assumed that there is a drug problem in Africa, then the western countries are hell to me and if it is assumed Nigeria or Ghana is home to drug barons, Colombia must be a haven or harbour to them!
Seye Adeniran, Bristol, UK

In Botswana ecstasy is the in-thing
Malebogo, Botswana
In Botswana ecstasy is the in-thing whether people like it or not. I know a lot of people who use it because it's very cheap actually and I know they get it from South Africa. Then we have marijuana. This one is the worst-abused drug. Everyone smokes it, even the politicians, so it will take time to do away with it. Now we know that Nigerians smuggle drugs through our country to South Africa - it seems like they are the major players and, trust me, they don't use them.
Malebogo, Gaborone, Botswana

I went through all the comments that have been made by most of the guys here, but all I find out is that Nigerians are the people involve in smuggling drugs across other countries. How could it be only Nigerians? Have you talked about other countries that smuggle drugs more than Nigerians? Well, why haven't we talked about the USA, Canada and Britain, which are the best drug pushers?
Samuel, Dakar, Senegal

It is more of a recreational activity
Dan, UK
During my extensive travels on the continent I've discovered that cannabis is not necessarily considered a drug in many rural areas. It is more of a recreational activity. If there is to be drugs, it must only be on HARD drugs or the over-stretched police forces will end up wasting millions on prosecutions that will be detrimental to the wider society.
Dan, Aberystwyth, UK

Africa does not have any drug problem, it is just a refuse [drug] dump.
Aiya Timothy Abhumhen, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

I object to the casual statement in the article that "world wide it seems like Nigerian gangs are taking over heroin smuggling". What study is this based on? We decent Nigerians are unfairly smeared by such irresponsible statements. Having lived in Britain, I can tell you that both the trafficking and use of heroin is much more commonplace among the British, say in Glasgow for example, than among Nigerians anywhere, yet no one says the British have taken over drug trafficking or heroin use. Please be more considerate and rational in your statements in the future.
Ejike Ezuma, Houston, USA

Drug abuse has for quite sometime in Africa been a crucial issue regarding the youths.
Oladunjoye Ibukun, Owo, Nigeria

Drug abuse has for quite sometime in Africa been a crucial issue regarding the youths. Drug use is far from having a place in our society. We are really against it. Most African society will always want to support something that makes a normal life for every individual.
Oladunjoye Ibukun, Owo, Nigeria

The Ghanaian MP's case is pure greed and irresponsibility on the part of officialdoms in our country. The more serious part of this saga is the fact that this man still keeps his seat in parliament after all the absence in the country.
Ben Akoto, Kumasi, Ghana

Africa has no drug problem this is an outrageous generalisation like others. Statistically speaking, Africa ranks lowest in drug among the continents of the planet. Drug trafficking may be on the rise but drug use is a myth in many communities. Africa has other problems worry about not drugs. Nevertheless, prophylactic road blocks need be applied to prevent the continent joining the drug crisis in the rest of the world. Let's talk about African corruption and those who consistently conspire with stooge leaders to rape resources and promote persistent poverty in Africa--the genesis of all problems.
Venantius Baninla Ladze, Minneapolis, USA

When drug addicts run out of money to fuel their habit, they can go as far as stealing in order to support their habit. Drug use is gradually creeping into African society. I hope it doesn't become an epidemic. Africa has enough problems to contend with. We don't need drugs.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

I think if Africa has a drugs problem then it might relate to smuggling and not its use. It is rare to hear about anyone being arrested for sending drugs to Africa. Money is made by getting them to the US or to Europe. Africa has more alarming problems like poverty, corruption, famine and bad governance, which need more attention.
Evans Asare, Cambridge, UK

Used needles cover the Freetown beaches
Cullen McGraw, USA
Drugs are on the rise in Sierra Leone and none of the NGO's or government authorities are addressing the issue. It's not even on their radar. Unfortunately by the time it is it will likely be too late to deal with the epidemic. Sierra Leone happens to have a large population of ex-child combatants experimenting with drugs. Used needles cover the Freetown beaches.
Cullen McGraw, United States

Personally I think drugs will definitely have a place in Africa as a by product of modernization. I don't use any drugs but I don't have any problems with people who do.
Moses Pila, Lagos, Nigeria

I support Adebola in the question, how do we deal with this vice? We are headed for a disaster. I am an alcohol and drug counsellor and I know first-hand how devastating this disease is.
Muthoni Ngugi-Muhu, Fullerton, California

Drug trafficking is a problem in Ethiopia. Especially drug smugglers are using Ethiopia as a transit. Mostly Nigerians are involved in the smuggling. There is also a local drug known as khat which is widely used by youngsters.
Alayou, Ethiopia

Having been born and raised in South Africa, I have been part and witness to the rising use of drugs in the country since 1994. In Johannesburg the Nigerians rule the roost and this spawns a secondary network of dealers and users countrywide. The whole spectrum of substances are available even in rural areas.
Andries Volschenk, Pretoria, South Africa

He was such a nice friend. I cannot understand how he got in to drugs
Asonganyi Akuakem, Cameroon

I had a very good friend, who he told me that he was travelling to Italy. I heard from his brother that he was arrested in Italy with heroin. He was such a nice friend. I can not understand how he got in to drugs.
Asonganyi Defang Akuakem, Yaounde, Cameroon

I don't really believe that Africa has a drug problem. Why? because most people who live in Africa cannot afford to buy drugs. It must be understood that everything that takes place in Africa is always exaggerated. Africans in the world are the least users of drugs. It is only the elite few who deal in drugs.
Pule Nong, Gaborone, Botswana

Drug use is the rise in Nigeria, all around on street corners we find young men and women, buying and selling marijuana and more recently cocaine.
Victor Owo, Eket, Nigeria

In my opinion, I don't see any difference between cannabis and any other hard drugs. They are all harmful to one's health and should be banned. I have seen a lot of young people waste their lives due to the use of this drug that everyone else thinks has 'mild' effects!
Gladys Fahari, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

I say all of it should be legalised, only then will governments have any sort of control over drugs
Matthew Gush, South Africa
Plenty of people I know do drugs of some form or other. My friends and I will regularly smoke pot or drink on a weekend night. I don't have a problem with it, narcotic use has been a part of human existence since we climbed out of the trees. The most harm that pot can do to you is get you arrested, so why is it illegal? I say all of it should be legalised, only then will governments have any sort of control over drugs. And think of the tax!
Matthew Gush, Grahamstown, South Africa

I believe illegal drugs should be made clear because marijuana which is just a herb is being included and it shouldn't be. It is true illegal drug cultivation is destroying Africa while making a country like the U.S.A. rich. This problem should be solved before it destroys the productive youth of Africa
Kelvin Baruka, Accra, Ghana

This whole drugs thing is not African, it's not part of our society. But what do you expect if the West is doing its best not to see Africa progress? Drugs are the kind of the things people will resort to in order to survive.
Kwaku Sakyi-Danso, Accra, Ghana

In my country cocaine, heroin and other drugs are not in abundance, but marijuana is almost everywhere, even our children abuse it. Very serious measures should be taken by officials address this problem, before it destroys our youths, and our future.
Malick Sowe, Sinchu, The Gambia

In Addis Ababa almost half the young generations are khat chewers. Khat is categorized as drug in many countries, but the Ethiopian government does not accept this. As we can clearly see chewing khat kills time, and hence reduces productivity, creativity and intelligence. And it is also one of the causes for high HIV transmission in Ethiopia. Hence, the government has to aware the society about this killing drug.
Lalisa Benti, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Among youth dealing in illegal drugs is the in thing
Abubakar Ibrahim, Belgium
Among the youth in Africa dealing in illegal drugs is the 'in thing' nowadays to show off one's strength and ability to socialise. Of course going through school it is easy to catch or know one or two students who use drugs. Society does not give them the thumbs-up to do it, but they hide and do it anyway.
Abubakar Ibrahim, Antwerp, Belgium

I think drugs will never be a problem in Africa, because of the societal stigma and cost. Nigerians smuggle it and take it abroad.
Esther, Montreal, Canada

Africa has a very serious drug problem. We don't seem to see or realize it because of the poverty levels here. We venerate riches so much that we don't seem to be bothered with how wealthy persons get their wealth, as long as they spend a little on us. Even the law enforcers are the main culprits.
Karl William, Tema, Ghana

Consumption levels of hard drugs may still not be that high in Africa, as compared to other regions of the world, but it is the trafficking of hard drugs that is most worrying. It is carried out not only by the poor but also by the rich because these drugs fetch a lot of money.
Anthony Musonda, Munich, Zambia/Germany

Frankly speaking, I do not even know what 'drugs' look like and I cannot recognise them. It seems drug use is not yet widespread in East Africa, but there has been expressed fear that some drug smugglers pass through Entebbe International Airport to their destinations. The authorities should look into this as a matter of serious concern.
Grace Okeng, Brussels, Uganda/Belgium

I think if Africa has a drug problem then it might relate to smuggling and not its use. Africa has more alarming problems like poverty, corruption, famine and bad governance.
Evans Asare, Cambridge, UK

The financiers reside far north of the African continent
Anthony Okosun, USA
Why is Africa always the focus of any global social problem? Making Africa, especially Nigeria, the locus in quo in the global drug problem is cheap blackmail. It is an open secret that the financiers and barons of the global drug trafficking business are very light skinned and reside very far north and very far west of the African continent.
Anthony Okosun, Baltimore, USA.

Seriously speaking, drug use has already become a big social problem in Africa. I am a Nigerian and know all the countries in West Africa. The rate at which the youths in most of these countries consume drugs is unimaginable. Most of them have become junkies to the extent that ordinary marijuana no longer gives them the required 'flash', but now resort to making a cocktail of marijuana and crack before they get 'high'.

It was ten years ago when I vowed to my God never to smoke crack in my life again, the day it nearly cut off my heartbeat after taking a good dose. Bad friends and youthful curiosity led me into it. The most painful aspect of it is that I have lost many of my friends because of drugs. Some who sell it are in jails, while others lost their lives in the deal.
Alex Chidozie, Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands.

Drug trafficking and abuse is on the rise in Kenya. Two years ago, cocaine worth 6 billion Kenya shillings was discovered on the Kenyan coast ready to be smuggled to the country's interior. It is unfortunate that six suspects charged in connection with the haul were acquitted by a Nairobi court. It shows there are influential persons behind drug smuggling in Africa.

Recently, the Kenyan government said it has invited the UN Commission on Narcotic drugs and experts to oversee destruction of these drugs and verify their authenticity. Often, drug traffickers are arrested at Kenya-Uganda, Kenya-Tanzania borders.

Bhang is still grown on a large scale on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, Aberdare Hills, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Congo forest and the others. African government must liaise with the UN to enlighten youths on the dangers of drugs.
George Gatume Waweru, Nairobi, Kenya

I think we must take this problem very seriously. For those who remember a thing or two about the civil war in Sierra Leone, illegal drugs were said to have been used in altering the minds of child soldiers. The war is now over, but the rate of drug use continues to rise among former child soldiers and a greater percentage of others. With a double-digit unemployment rate, history might just be revisited.
Allie Kamara, Sterling, Virginia

I had a few friends that smoked marijuana when I was growing up
Omorodion Osula, U.S.A.
Drug use is a very serious problem. Because of the cost of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, only the rich usually afford them. I had a few friends that smoked marijuana when I was growing up. Drug use is gradually creeping into African society. I hope it doesn't become an epidemic. Africa has enough problems to contend with. We don't need drugs.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, U.S.A.

I personally do not smoke or drink, and have never even thought of hard drugs
Adebola Oyekoya, Nigeria
Asides the fact that the use of drugs endangers the health, it is not acceptable in society. If a drunk man is looked down on, how much more a drug addict? I personally do not smoke or drink, and have never even thought of hard drugs. Whether drugs have a place in the African society is not a question of time because it is evident that it is already taking roots. How do we fight it is what we should ask ourselves.
Adebola Oyekoya, Lagos, Nigeria


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