By Elias Hakizimana
As drug abuse continue to cause losses to and threaten the community, the Ministry of Health though Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) in collaboration with other government entities have called for more efforts in combating drug abuse that remains a burden , especially the youth who are energetic and important economic force.
The call was made in Kigali on Monday June 12, 2018 during a national symposium on drug abuse issues that gathered Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, National Rehabilitation Service (NRS), Rwanda National Police, National Public Prosecution Authority, National Collection Service, Faith-based organisations, hospitals’ representatives, and research and education institutions among others.
According to the figures by World Health Organisation (WHO), 200 million people globally consume drugs once per year and among them 25 million are addicted to drug abuse.
200,000 people globally die of drug abuse every year, and children and youth are the most vulnerable.
The recent research by former Ministry of Youth and ICT of 2012 shows that 52% of youth between 14 and 35 years used drugs countrywide.
Dr. Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the National Director of Mental Health at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) said that some parents do not understand the effects of drug abuse among the children, which affect education of youth.
“We must tackle drug abuse because they kill our future generations, we need to explain to everyone that it undermines youth. In mental health, we realised that drug abuse leads to suicide and no other award of consuming drugs other than death,” said Dr. Kayiteshonga.
She pointed out that drug abuse also leads to diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis and depression that result in committing suicide after the person in question has got addicted.
She calls everyone to be a watchdog of his/her colleague by reporting cases of drug abuse. “we are lucky we have mental health services and together we need to join efforts to build Rwanda-drug free,” Kayiteshonga noted.
Kayiteshonga added that positive parenting will serve as a good practiceprevenandgndgg children from drug abuse.
Aimé Bosenibamwe, Director General of NRS said that Rwanda loses billions of resources spent on rehabilitation services, which, instead, should have been invested in creating more jobs for youth to develop themselves and their nation.
IWAWA rehabilitation center has so far reintegrated 15,000 drug user children among whom 90 percent were addicted. Gitagata rehabilitated over 4,500 youths.
Bosenibamwe said that rehabilitation centers started yielding positive results as reintegrated youth changed for the better and started carrying out income generating activities.
He said that Rwanda spends around Rwf80 million. “We should take tangible measures to save that money for other issues,” he said.
Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo of Gahini Diocese said that faith-based organisations have done a lot in combating drug abuse. He noted that they succeeded in changing about 1,000 people who were consuming drugs and 600 among them changed and embraced income generating business associations.
According to the spokesperson of Rwanda National Police, Commissioner of Police (CP) Theos Badege, the symposium becomes a good platform to revisit measures of tracking drug abuse by bridging gaps existing in current strategies intended to solve the problem.
Drug abusebis available in different types such as Mugo, Heroine, Ibati and keep changing names with new varieties that come gradually.
CP Badege said that drug abuse leads to other kinds of crimes such as sexual abuse, conflicts, etc.