Drug abuse: a critical appraisal of the Cameroonian context
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This research is focused on examining the general situation of drug abuse in Cameroon. This is based on the premise that drug abuse in Cameroon has been on the rise with its devastating consequences touching every area of the country. On this note, the researcher aimed at examining the Cameroonian legal system so as to effectively access the reason for the abuse and if the laws enacted can adequately prevent such abuses and if no, what can be done to overt the situation as the recommendation will be brought up to that effect.
In doing so, the researcher has dedicated an entire chapter (chapter two) just for the laws which include both national and international ratified treaties, and chapter three focuses on identifying the causes of drug abuse. This is done with the view to detailed the reasons for it to rise, and chapter four focuses on to examine the possible consequences of this act, as the researcher intends to showcase to the abusers and the government the harm associated with this ills.
1.1 Background to Study
The history of drugs illuminates the history of humanity and explores the long relationship between mankind and mind-altering substances. Use of drug is as old as the history of mankind. Almost all primitive and oden societies seem to have used some mood modifying drugs; and in some cases, it was only alcohol. Alcohol was made, drunk, and used to excess as far back as memory and records go. Tobacco (Nicotiana), hemp (Cannabis Sativa), opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum) and other plants containing drugs have been chewed and smoked almost as long as alcohol and coffee has been served in the Middle East.
The wine was used from the time of the early Egyptians; narcotics from 4000 B.C; and it was Babylonians, inheritors of Sumerian civilization, who, with their expanding empire, spread the knowledge of the poppy’s medicinal properties eastward to Persia and westward to Egypt where its use as a remedy for human ailments are known as early as 1550B.C. Aristotle’s disciple, Theophrastus testifies the use of datura by the ancient Greeks; and further evidence links the rights to the ingestion of a hallucinogen.
The Greeks too, learned its uses, for it is from their word opion, of the poppy, Latinized word comes. The poppy was old in Greek Legend before Homer in Iliad, recounting a decoction of it used by Helen of Troy, said that it had the power of forgetfulness of pain and the sense of evil. But not until the 19th century A.D was the active substances in drugs extracted.
There followed a time when some of these newly discovered substances morphine, laudanum, cocaine were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by physicians for a wide variety of ailments. They were available in patent medicines and sold by travelling tinkers, in drugstores, or through the mail. During the American Civil War, morphine was used freely; and wounded veterans returned home with their kits of morphine and hypodermic needles. Opium dens flourished. Napoleon’s army, returning from Egypt, introduced cannabis (hashish, marijuana) into France. Avante-garde artists and writers in Paris.
According to historian Emmanuel Akyeampong, cannabis products in West Africa existed before the mid-twentieth century. In 1934 colonial authorities were still testing the cultivation of the coca plant in Calabar and other places in Nigeria. By the mid-1950s police were arresting some Nigerian farmers for growing and selling small amounts of cannabis were being shipped to Europe and the United States. While this was going on, Nigerian cannabis smokers were buying some imported marijuana from South African and Belgian Congo dealers.
The first documented use of West Africa as a smuggling post was in 1952, when US officials noticed that a Lebanese syndicate was hiding heroin in West Africa in order to avoid getting caught by police and to avoid the scrutiny of officers on the European trade route.
West Africa’s rise as a major drug smuggling transit point starts at around the 1960s, when swinging London were popular, and young men and women in the UK and other parts of Europe wanted illegal drugs. Marijuana was particularly high in demand and reports of the time period stated that of marijuana grown in West Africa was being exported from Nigeria to Europe in large quantities.
New markets for illicit substances and a growing acceptance of hard drugs has led to cases of drug abuse throughout West Africa. The United Nations found that in the 1980s and 1990s, drug consumption increased dramatically in youth populations and among the urban poor. Whereas before drug traffickers transported drugs through the West Africa, they now realized they could save money by selling their products within the region. As a result, countries central to West African drug routes Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau have all seen a rise in domestic drug consumption and abuse. In countries like Nigeria, there are few government health and rehabilitation services available, leaving addicts and their families to deal with adverse health effects and the socioeconomic consequences on their own.
As the locus of concern for drug control organizations has shifted to the supply of drugs to Western countries, less attention has been given to domestic demand and consumption. Most West African countries do not have sufficient services or policies put in place to properly run substance abuse and local anti-drug campaigns. Controlling the flow of drugs out of the region has taken priority over-regulating drug trafficking within West African countries.
Increasing rates of substance abuse have intensified other issues within West Africa including the spread of HIV and AIDS, higher rates of prostitution, and larger urban poor populations who are economically immobilized by reliance on drugs. Drug abuse within families has shown lasting cross-generational effects on urban youth and catalyzed a quicker spread of drug addiction along with higher rates of depression and anxiety. The Casamance conflict in Senegal is an example of how the growing domestic demand for substances has additionally created a financial opportunity for insurgent groups within the region, leading to further political instability.
1.1. Statement of the Problem
The drug in itself is a chemical substance meant or used to cure, treat, prevent, or diagnose a disease or promote wellbeing. Its discovery was to prevent the high rate of death and ensured that each and everyone is able to leave healthily. Nevertheless, this hasn’t been the case as envisaged by the founders of medications, as the issue of drug abuse can be traced far back as during the period of 1550BC even though the manner of substance abuse wasn’t as it is in the 21st century where the use of has now become a global threat to humanity itself cause by it excessive use especially among young people.
This abuse has been manifested in several forms as today, it stands as one of the leading factor and main cause of juvenile delinquencies, raped, riot, infighting among person, road incident and public manifestations are consider as a major factor of a societal mishap. This practice has affected several lives and the society in its entirety couple with the fact that the 1997 Law on Narcotic Drug use. is consider inadequate in handling and providing adequate sanctions to this awful act that has taken millions of lives across the country as just some few enactments has been provided to actually prohibit it cultivation and use, coupled with a weaker border control system, has facilitated the smuggling of illicit drugs and it cultivation within the territory.
1.2. Research Questions
- How has the Cameroonian law tackled the issue of drug abuse?
- What are the causes of drug abuse?
- What are the effects of drug abuse?
- What is the policy recommendation can be made to help Cameroon effectively handle the situation of drug abuse?
1.3. Research Objectives
To examine the legal framework of drug abuse in Cameroon
1.4. Specific objectives
- To discuss the causes of drug abuse
- To examine the effect of drug abuse
- To make policy recommendation