Newsbrief: West Africa Drug War -- Business As Usual, Except for the Lizards 9/12/03

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In Africa, drug war orthodoxy reigns almost unchallenged. Recent press reports from Gambia and Nigeria indicate the war grinds mindlessly on, chewing up victims and spitting out bureaucracies as it goes. According to the Independent (Gambia), police anti-drug squads have lately been busy harassing pot smokers on the beach, while in Nigeria, the Vanguard (Lagos) reported that the national anti-drug enforcement agency is undergoing a bureaucratic reorganization to increase its effectiveness.

In Gambia, the Independent breathlessly reported the police's "good luck" in apprehending a dangerous bunch of teenage tokers on Palma Rima and Senegambia beaches last week. According to the newspaper, "Palma Rima beach was swarmed with smokers of marijuana who were rounded up despite putting up some stubborn resistance." Some were tipped off by a companion who raised the alarm and put up "stout resistance" before being overpowered by police. "He was seriously beaten and led away with the others," the paper nonchalantly noted.

It's all for the public good, the police told the Independent. "Whether we accept it or not the beach is being turned into a cartel for drugs. We are prepared to be ever vigilant in the beaches, in towns and villages and the borders. Our aim is clear, that is to hound, catch and punish those peddling drugs and those using them," the commander who led the raid said.

In Nigeria, meanwhile, Alhaji Bello Lafiaji, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), announced that the agency would undergo a bureaucratic restructuring into 37 state commands in an effort to rationalize operations. "We cannot remain in one state and launch an offensive to the other states and the hinterlands and expect to have the desired result. Besides, we need to expand the scope of coverage in view of the fact that the problem of drug abuse and illicit trafficking is becoming more extensive and intensive, especially the locally produced drugs like Cannabis and other additive substances such as rubber solution and lizard feces," he told the Vanguard (Lagos), which took the news of reptile turd-smoking in stride. "It is not enough for us to be arresting Cocaine and Heroin whereas our children are getting hooked to these locally produced drugs and additives."

Ah, lizard shit as the gateway drug.

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Issue #302, 9/12/03 Oops! -- "Killer Ecstasy" Study Retracted, NIDA Credibility on the Line, RAVE Act Still Law | Marijuana as Budget Saver? Study Looks at Implications of Legalization in Massachusetts | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Newsbrief: Human Rights Watch Calls California's Anti-Syringe Laws a Violation of Human Rights, Details Police Harassment of Exchanges | Arianna Huffington Speaks at UC Berkeley SSDP-Volunteer-Organized Event | Newsbrief: Tommy Chong Sentenced to Nine Months on Bong Charges | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: West Africa Drug War -- Business As Usual, Except for the Lizards | Newsbrief: Canadian Cities Federation Stays Firm in Support of Cannabis Decrim | Newsbrief: New Mexico Church Wins Ruling in Ayahuasca Case | Newsbrief: Pakistani Prison Officials Call for Different Treatment of Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: Dutch Government Seeks to Ban Cops from Enjoying Coffee Shops | Newsbrief: Connecticut Democrats to Propose Sentencing Reforms | The Reformer's Calendar
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