Proposals for an Effective International Campaign Against Traffic in Drugs
Experience shows that there is a direct relationship between the reduction of drug supply and the decline of the consumer's demand on the drug. While the former goal is the task of the government and law-enforcement agencies, the latter goal is an educational duty of individuals, families, and society at large. The Baha'i International Community is pleased, therefore, to submit the following recommendations:
- The governments of the world should, irrespective of their cultural, economic, and political differences, adopt the common goal and objective of curbing the production of and traffic in narcotic and other types of drugs. Governments should strictly adhere to the principle of full cooperation with one another in their efforts to control the production and dissemination of drugs. Any laxness or leniency in rules, which might encourage the profit-making process of drug trafficking, should be considered as counter-productive and be strictly avoided. If such a decision is made with determination to reduce the traffic in and supply of drugs, it may be possible to achieve the following results: (a) the discouragement of new drug seekers from obtaining drugs; and (b) the encouragement of drug addicts to seek active treatment and rehabilitation.
- Society, on the other hand, should educate children and adults, through the educational system, the media of mass communication, and religious institutions, about the dangerous consequences of illicit drug use and addiction. This educational program, moreover, should aid individuals to recognize the worth of their existence and the loftiness of their purpose in life. When the demand for drugs by a society falls, it will have a discouraging effect on those who are active in the traffic in narcotic drugs. Societies with more permissive and lenient attitudes toward the use of alcohol and drugs have a higher prevalence of addiction to these substances.
- The most vulnerable targets for drugs of any kind are the youth and the children. The young peoples' search for their identity and their preoccupation with "here-and-now" situations will make them more susceptible to experimentation with drugs. This is especially true if there is an absence of other positive alternatives and healthy options available in society for the young generation. Any effective campaign against the use of and traffic in drugs will not be complete unless it takes into consideration the psychology and aspirations of the young generation.
- Schools and the media play an important role in the fight against the use of and traffic in drugs, and will carry a potent influence in reducing demands for these substances. However, the system of education and the communications industry at present do not aim at an effective program for prevention or control of drug abuse and addiction. Indeed, the media today have glamorized the use of some substances such as alcohol, thus creating an encouragement to drink. The educational institutions and the media should instead foster public awareness of the discoveries in the field of medicine concerning the detrimental effects of some of these substances.
- Home and family life are also important in reducing demands on the supply of drugs. It is the home and family environment where the cornerstone of internal control over one's instincts and desires is laid down. If this control is not established at an early stage in life, external control may need to be imposed through social rules and regulations. When both internal and external controls fail to develop, a sense of permissiveness will prevail in society, the result of which will be easy availability of alcohol and drugs and a rise in the scale of drug addiction. Parents, especially mothers, are the prime examples for their children and greatly influence the future attitude of the children towards alcohol and drugs. If parents, as models of identity both in their words and convictions, and in their actions and attitudes, demonstrate explicitly that the use of alcohol, drugs, and narcotics will have adverse effects on the fulfillment of their purpose in life, which, in the Baha'i view, is a noble one, the children will follow this example and will, in the future, be less susceptible to the use of these substances.
- The advent of modern civilization has increased man's expectations of comfort and security. These expectations are coupled with an increase in stress arising in the world at this juncture of history. Any campaign against drug abuse should include a parallel educational progress to make society aware of the meaning of stress and suffering in life and how to cope with a life crisis or an excess of stress.
- A very important factor in a campaign against the use of drugs is the setting of example by important figures, statesmen, movie stars, and heroes in society. When these individuals and government figures, by their very actions, set an example for society by avoiding alcohol and drug abuse, the people can be more easily and effectively educated.