National, News

Authority raises alarm over drug Abuse 

By Charles K Mark


National Drug and Food Control Authority worries over prevalence of drug abuse by schoolchildren throughout the country.

Dr. Mawien Atem, NDA’s Secretary General highlights the physical, mental, and emotional health effects drag abuse on young people, warning that the silent practice kills the generation.

He calls for collaborative efforts between parents, educators, and authorities to address the growing concern and safeguard the well-being of the generation.

Dr. Mawien was on Wednesday talking to the media in a campaign organized to fight against drug abuse among children.

The campaign, “Let’s Rescue Our Nation’s Future,” is an initiative of the national children’s advocacy organization “Generation 711.”

Dr. Mawien refers to drug abuse as a serious issue, “except that people have not taken note of it.”

A lot of children all over the city streets are seen sniffing drugs, drinking substandard alcoholic beverages (Jena Far), and smoking cigarettes.

“If you go around here, by this time we’ll have more than 20 in this small area next to the university,” Mawien revealed.

The drug authority secretary general said campaigns conducted to combat the use of illicit drugs are not enough.

“But it has to be taken seriously by the government, actually nationwide, so that people are aware that this is dangerous,” he echoed.

Unfortunately, most unguided children who are found intoxicated seem not to have parents from within that control them, he said.

“Many of the children who happen to influence other children are said to have come from the countryside, while others are abandoned by their parents due to unbearable circumstances.

Some of the children who talked to this outlet say they left school to look for jobs in the city; unfortunately, for lack of shelter, feeding, and so-called jobs, they end up joining their peers, hence picking up the habits.

Mawien said, “We cannot say the government has failed because they might have had their own reason.”

But he argued that the fact that the government looks at the vice and does not take a very serious campaign is a failure in that area.

A former drug addict and now an advocate against drug abuse among children, David Chol Kuer, said there are a number of factors that drive schoolchildren to engage in drug misuse.

Chol offered his own experience in 2009 when he just started drinking alcohol and finally started smoking cigarettes and marijuana.

“I started by passive smoking. When I saw how the Jamaican young people behaved, even some of my colleagues in school felt like it was cool,” he narrated.

The drug survivor said when he got addicted, he couldn’t stop the habit which made him get expelled from many schools.

“When my parents found out, they tried talking to me, but then I could not stop. They changed me to Seeta High School; I was then 11–12 years old. I was in Senior Two. But one day we were caught smoking in the bathroom with my colleagues, and we were expelled.” He recounted his past life.

The young man said his health had started deteriorating at the time; he started experiencing difficulties breathing, his body changed, and his skin was pale.

“When I was 16 years old, I started looking into the mirror every day, and I could feel like a 61-year-old man. Then I could ask myself, ‘Who is this man?” Chol wondered!

The drug survivor said he started picking up some advice from a few constructive friends, his parents, and his girlfriend, who had already threatened to quit the relationship if he did not change.

“I decided to relocate, found new friends, looked at God first, and decided not to associate again with those friends who remained in the business (drugs),” Chol narrated his addiction quitting drive.

A civil society activist and Executive Director of the organization, Generation 711, Mrs. Ayella Eunice, urged that, as youth and children constitute over 70 percent of the country’s population, neglecting the use of drugs among them may cost their future.

She stressed that it is high time the government, schools, and other partners embark on a campaign to rescue the nation’s future.

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