Drug abuse is a serious issue affecting all sections of the society, irrespective age, education or economic status.
It is very disheartening to observe that every so often there are reports of drug peddlers being arrested in our country.
In an interview with Gucha Probation Officer, Elijah Omanga, KNA established that there is a constant surge in drug abuse cases among the school going children in the area.
According to records confirmed by Omanga, of the 200 cases at Gucha Law Courts between January and September this year, 98 were drug abuse cases, translating to about half, a statistic that is alarming!
Within the same period, 77 juveniles of ages between 14 and 17 years from the area have been placed on probation in an effort to rehabilitate them from drug addiction.
Needless to say, it has become a major problem to the children’s education, lives and continues to ravage countless innocent children in the society.
The negative consequences of drug abuse affect not only individuals who abuse drugs but also their families and friends, and government resources. The most obvious effects of drug abuse which are manifested in the individuals who abuse drugs include ill health, and sudden death.
Omanga further explains that the drugs, majorly marijuana, are distributed from far areas by use of motorcycles and at times vehicles.
He says that the peddlers who seem to be well known individuals have manifested hard to incarcerate because of the big networks of operation they wield.
The peddlers distribute the drugs to agents in the area who swiftly sell them to the youngsters. Some of the children, especially boys, have been engaged to help in distributing the drugs.
Omanga however notes that the hotspots where the drugs are distributed can easily be identified.
Besides marijuana, there is increased brewing of chang’aa in the area that has equally turned down the efforts of ever trying to free the children from drug abuse. Of concern is that it is the parents of the same children who play part in the brewing.
“The risk to children is even greater when their parents or guardians manufacture illicit brew such as alcohol, commonly called chang’aa. Chang’aa abusers often produce the drink in their own homes and apartments, using hazardous chemicals such as Methyl-1-propanol. Children who inhabit such homes often inhale dangerous chemical fumes and gases or ingest toxic chemicals or illicit drugs. These children commonly suffer from both short- and long-term health complications.
Moreover, because many producers also abuse the drug, children commonly suffer from neglect that leads to psychological and developmental problems,” says Omanga.
Beyond having laws and policies designed to control drug abuse and regulations on drug addicts, it is the responsibility of everyone in the community to bring the desired change or outcome in our societies.
Before it’s too late, we all have to pay close attention to this serious hazard. The government, primarily, should focus on curtailing the abuse of different kinds of drugs and alcohol to ensure that effective safety measures have been taken. At the societal and our individual levels, we must contribute strongly in annihilating this issue.
Drug addiction is preventable and can be successfully managed if all responsible citizens of our society, whether they are social workers, parents, teachers and health care workers, provide their contributions in educating youth about drug abuse.
In addition, it is a major responsibility on parents to interact with their children and shape their minds in a direction which is productive and keeps them occupied in works beneficial to them and the society as a whole.
Omanga believes parental control including the healthy home atmosphere is one of the effective tools in tackling the menace of drug addiction in children.
By Misheba Alfred