Rwanda: Burera youths warned against drug abuse

By (James Peter Nkurunziza)

The state minister expressed concern over the growing number of mental health cases

Youths from Burera District were on Wednesday warned against the abuse of drugs, reminding them of the repercussions that include loss of life, destroying life goals and lengthy prison sentences, among others.

This call was made by Agnes Mukagashugi, the Deputy Prosecutor General during an anti-drug abuse campaign held at Burera playground in an event that was organised by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

“Drugs are responsible for the big number of cases of mental health patients in the country,” she said to a large audience that consisted students from secondary schools from across the district and area residents.

The meeting was also attended by the State Minister Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, local government officials including the Governor of Northern Province, and security officials among others.

Mukagashugi reminded the youths – whom he said are the main consumers of drugs – that drugs do not only affect the individual consuming them but also the community they live in and also the country as a whole.

She noted that in 2015-2016, over 4700 cases were recorded and in 2016-2017, the numbers significantly increased to over 5,600 cases but due to the anti-drug abuse campaigns that started soon after these findings, the numbers reduced from to slightly over 4,000 last year.

Ndimubanzi also expressed his concern over the growing number of mental health cases resulting from drug abuse that the country is facing at the moment.

“As a ministry, we shall not tire from fighting drug abuse through such types of campaigns throughout the country,” he said.

The Minister also cautioned residents to always be on the lookout against individuals that are involved in the abuse of drugs or selling them, saying that communities are destroyed where drugs are allowed to thrive.

Meanwhile, Ndimubanzi cautioned everyone present to be cautious of the Ebola scourge that had as of Wednesday reached neighbouring Uganda where three cases had been confirmed.

He argued residents to maintain proper sanitation at all times and also report individuals with symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding from different body parts such as ears, eyes and nose among others.

During the event, assorted drugs were destroyed in the presence of the residents.

Mnangagwa Urged Zimbabwean Youths to Shun Drugs

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday urged youths to shun drugs and concentrate more on their education as well as inventing new products useful for the country.

Addressing a children’s pre-independence party in Harare, Mnangagwa said youths should refrain from abusing alcoholic substances because that could affect their learning.

“You must respect your teachers, you must shun drugs and you must shun alcohol and substance abuse. Violence and other activities that may harm you, you must shun such activities,” he said.

Mnangagwa said it was essential for the youths to take part in innovations and inventions to enable them to create opportunities for themselves and others.

“I was impressed and encouraged by the quality of exhibitions during Research Council of Zimbabwe Symposium by some of you, your innovations and inventions. I challenge more of you across the country to participate in that symposium next year,” Mnangagwa said.

“These initiatives will empower you to develop viable enterprises and widen employment opportunities. Resources will be made available for teaching and learning materials as well as equipment and facilities to enable you to take part in this programme.”

Some pupils, especially those in the rural areas including Binga and Lupane walk up to 15 kilometres to get to the nearest school which is creating a barrier to access education.

The President said his government was committed to improve access to quality education which is in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals target four.

“The achievement of quality education will remain high on my agenda. We will accelerate the construction of more schools to ensure that no more leaner has to walk more than five kilometres to a school,” Mnangagwa said.

Source News Day

Nigeria losing war against drug abuse

By Adaku Onyenucheya

The issue of drug and substance abuse among the teeming youths in Nigeria has taken a new dimension, as the problem is much bigger than projected decades ago.
Before now, drug and substance abuse was rampant among few hoodlums on the streets and also done in hidden places, but the current situation is not the same, as there is practically no major city in Nigeria that does not have hideouts, joints, clubs or ram-shackles where the youths visit to buy or use drugs of different descriptions to feel good.

More worrisome is the fact that drugs are now done in the open without fear of being seen or caught, whether by their parents, elderly ones, religious leaders, teachers or law enforcement agencies. Drugs are now everywhere; there is hardly any tertiary institution or even the primary and secondary schools that are free of drug abusers.

Experts have expressed worry that this may lead to an irreversible lethal consequence on the youths, who occupy the larger percentage of the country’s population, if not addressed on time, adding that the upsurge is rapidly destroying the future of the country, as many young promising lives are destroyed to drugs daily.

However, before 2013, Nigeria was considered only as a transit nation for illicit drugs, but is currently recognised internationally as user nation.

Some of these drugs and substances commonly abused among youths in the country include but not limited to prescription drugs, such as Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, Methadone, oxycodone, Tramadol, codeine, Morphine among other; chemicals and illegal drugs such as cannabis or marijuana, opiates, heroine.

Others include, stimulants, such as methamphetamines and cocaine as well as hallucinogens.

More surprising is that substance abuse has taken another level in the country as the abusers engage in smoking lizard dung, inhaling dry faeces, mixing bleach with soft drinks, among other mysterious deeds, just for the following purposes, such as to derive pleasure, feel or perform better in certain situations, or to change one’s perception of reality.

Although, it was reported that about three million codeine containing cough syrups are consumed daily in Kano and about six million bottles in the Northwest region of Nigeria, the current 2018 National Survey on Drug Use in Nigeria, recently presented by the federal government in Abuja shows that 14.3 million people, representing approximately 14.4 per cent of the country’s population, between the ages of 15 and 64 abuse drugs and substances in the past one year.

Stating the figures at the MTN Foundation’s Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) roundtable on multi sectoral approach in curbing substance abuse in Nigeria and the need for intensified collaborative action, which was held in Lagos on Thursday, the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris said the situation is worst than the statistics reveal.

He said the survey also shows that the menace of drug abuse was more prominent in the Southwest, with Lagos and Oyo state taking the lead, as the former has about 22.5 per cent of the 14.3 million drug users.

Idris said the South-south came second, the Southeast third, while the North central last, adding that the survey also revealed that the number of drug users in Nigeria in the previous year was very high than international standards, of approximately 14.3 million people, which means that the prevalence of drug abuse in the country is more than twice the global average of 5.6 per cent.

The consequences of drug and substance abuse are varied and devastating for the individuals involved, the family, nation and the international community.

According to the commissioner, the medical problems associated with drug abuse include, mental disorder, liver cirrhosis, lethargy, irritability, cardio-vascular disorders, cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Hepatitis B and C among others, while the social consequences are numerous, such as school dropout, cultism, violence, armed robbery, lawlessness, cultural disorientation, rape, assassinations, loss of productivity, among others.

He noted that the financial cost to the nations economy is huge, which he stressed needs adequate funding from the government to strengthen the health and education sector in order to eliminate the scourge.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Lagos State, Agboola Dabiri, stressed that substance abuse globally and in Nigeria, specifically, has taken a new dimension, which calls for deliberate and sustainable actions, adding that the issue of drug abuse is no longer on the roads; but now within our homes.

Dabiri said drug abuse is a major problem in Lagos and it is biting so hard, noting that for every 10 homes “you must have one person involved in drug abuse.”

He stressed that abusers don’t hide in secret to take drugs anymore, but rather do it in the open, which is the challenge the country is having.

The commissioner revealed that the rehabilitation homes across the state are congested because of the rising number of drug addicts brought in on a daily basis, which comprises students of tertiary institutions.

He said the issue of substance abuse among Nigerian youth requires cooperative efforts with all stakeholders and all sectors to respond to the scourge.

Although, the Senate had conducted public hearing on the issue and existing laws are being reviewed, with new ones crafted to combat the present and future danger associated with drug and substance abuse.

Also, the Minister of Health had set up a committee to investigate measures to take to reduce or totally eliminate access to some of the drugs that are being abused. Some organisations, like the MTN Nigeria have also initiated the ASAP intervention to help the society combat the problem.

This is in line with the multi-dimensional approach recommended to combat this resurgent menace, as MTN Foundation brought stakeholders to chart way forward at the forum held in Lagos, which had in attendance partners including, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Nigeria Police Force, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM); Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), and Global Initiative On Substance Abuse (GISA) among others.

Speaking at the forum, the Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, explained that the purpose of the campaign is to stimulate discourse among thought leaders, policy makers and leaders from different walks of life, to bring everyone much closer towards its goal of freeing “our future leaders from the evil attraction of drugs and possible addiction to opioids.”

The forum also had panel sessions with stakeholders who proposed engagement of the family, community, religious groups, youth groups, industries and government to combat the menace.

The panelists stressed that parents should monitor their children and their activities, while the government must ensure that the drug distribution system is sanitised and access to dangerous drugs is severely restricted, noting that everybody involved in handling of drugs must be brought under regulatory control.

They stressed that the economy must be stimulated to provide jobs for the unemployed and the teeming population joining the labour market every year.

Also, an alternative means of engagement such as sports, empowerment and other recreational activities must be provided to take the youths out of the street.

The panelists added that everybody must be involved in the efforts to educate the youths and limit the availability of drugs to professionals only, while they task the pharmaceutical industry, comprising the manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to have a big role to play and must be extra vigilant in the handling of sensitive drugs that are prone to abuse by youths.

Explaining further, the ASAP intervention, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said the state activations, which started with various activities in primary and secondary schools, motor parks, and markets, will continue with an advocacy walk that will culminate in counselling sessions for all interested persons.

She, however, said a replication of all the activities under the ASAP initiative will be in five other states – Imo, Rivers, Kano, Bauchi and Abuja in the coming months, as the overall objective is to take the initiative to the streets of Nigeria and meet the youth in their comfort zones.

Source Features

Hard Drugs Can Damage Your Brain

By Azugbene Solomon

What You Need to Know About Drugs

Drugs are chemicals that change the way a person’s body works. You’ve probably heard that drugs are bad for you, but what does that mean and why are they bad?

Medicines Are Legal Drugs

If you’ve ever been sick and had to take medicine, you already know about one kind of drugs. Medicines are legal drugs, meaning doctors are allowed to prescribe them for patients, stores can sell them, and people are allowed to buy them. But it’s not legal, or safe, for people to use these medicines any way they want or to buy them from people who are selling them illegally.

Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana
Cigarettes and alcohol are two other kinds of legal drugs. (In the United States, adults 18 and older can buy cigarettes and those 21 and older can buy alcohol.) But smoking and excessive drinking are not healthy for adults and are off limits for kids. Marijuana is generally an illegal drug, but some states allow doctors to prescribe it to people for certain illnesses, and some have passed laws making it legal to sell marijuana to adults for personal use.

Illegal Drugs

When people talk about a “drug problem,” they usually mean abusing legal drugs or using illegal drugs, such as marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, crystal meth, and heroin to get “high.”

Why Are Illegal Drugs Dangerous?

Illegal drugs aren’t good for anyone, but they are particularly bad for a kid or teen whose body is still growing. Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs. Cocaine, for instance, can cause a heart attack — even in a kid or teen.

While using drugs, people are also less able to do well in school, sports, and other activities. It’s often harder to think clearly and make good decisions. People can do dumb or dangerous things that could hurt them — or other people — when they use drugs.

Why Do People Use Illegal Drugs?

Sometimes kids and teens try drugs to fit in with a group of friends. Or they might be curious or just bored. Someone may use illegal drugs for many reasons, but often because they help the person escape from reality for a while. A drug might — temporarily — make someone who is sad or upset feel better or forget about problems. But this escape lasts only until the drug wears off.

Drugs don’t solve problems, of course. And using drugs often causes other problems on top of the problems the person had in the first place. Somebody who uses drugs can become dependent on them, or addicted. This means that the person’s body becomes so accustomed to having this drug that he or she can’t function well without it.

Once someone is addicted, it’s very hard to stop taking drugs. Stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting (throwing up), sweating, and tremors (shaking). These sick feelings continue until the person’s body gets adjusted to being drug free again.

Can I Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs?

If someone is using drugs, you might notice changes in how the person looks or acts. Here are some of those signs, but it’s important to remember that depression or another problem could be causing these changes. Somebody using drugs might:

  • lose interest in school
  • change friends (to hang out with kids who use drugs)
  • become moody, negative, cranky, or worried all the time
  • ask to be left alone a lot
  • have trouble concentrating
  • sleep a lot (maybe even in class)
  • get in fights
  • have red or puffy eyes
  • lose or gain weight
  • cough a lot
  • have a runny nose all of the time

What Can I Do to Help?

If you think someone is using drugs, the best thing to do is to tell an adult that you trust. This could be a parent, other relative, teacher, coach, or school counselor. The person might need professional help to stop using drugs. A grownup can help the person find the treatment needed to stop using drugs. Another way kids can help kids is by choosing not to try or use drugs. It’s a good way for friends to stick together.

Words to Know

Understanding drugs and why they are dangerous is another good step for a kid to take. Here are some words that may be new to you:

Addiction (say: eh-DIK-shen) — Someone has an addiction when he or she becomes dependent on (can’t stop taking the drug without getting sick) or craves a drug all of the time.

Depressant (say: dih-PRESS-int) — A depressant is a drug that slows a person down. Doctors prescribe depressants to help people be less angry, anxious, or tense. Depressants relax muscles and make people feel sleepy, less stressed out, or like their head is stuffed. Some people may use these drugs illegally to slow themselves down and help bring on sleep — especially after using various kinds of stimulants. (See below.)

Hallucinogen (say: heh-LOO-seh-neh-jen) — A hallucinogen is a drug, such as LSD, that changes a person’s mood and makes him or her see or hear things that aren’t really there or think strange thoughts.

High — A high is the feeling that drug users want to get when they take drugs. There are many types of highs, including a very happy or spacey feeling or a feeling that someone has special powers, such as the ability to fly or to see into the future.

Inhalant (say: in-HALE-ent) — An inhalant, such as glue or gasoline, is sniffed or “huffed” to give the user an immediate high. Inhalants produce a quick feeling of being drunk — followed by sleepiness, staggering, dizziness, and confusion.

Narcotic (say: nar-KAH-tik) — A narcotic dulls the body’s senses (leaving a person less aware and alert and feeling carefree) and relieves pain. Narcotics can cause someone to sleep, fall into a stupor, have convulsions, and even slip into a coma. Certain narcotics — such as codeine — are legal if given by doctors to treat pain. Heroin is an illegal narcotic because it is has dangerous side effects and is very addictive.

Stimulant (say: STIM-yeh-lent) — A stimulant speeds up the body and brain. Stimulants, such as methamphetamines and cocaine, have the opposite effect of depressants. Usually, stimulants make someone feel high and energized. When the effects of a stimulant wear off, the person will feel tired or sick.

Kids Health: What You Need to Know About Drugs by Steven Dowshen