By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda Faith organizations have launched the new two-week campaign against drug abuse in Rwanda held under the theme “Goliath is defeated”.
The theme is the comparison of combating drugs to David who defeated ‘Goliath’ as the bible says.
The campaign, according to Bishop Alex Birindabagabo, the chairperson of the Purpose Driven Ministries’ PEACE plan, there will be a concert called “Rwanda Shima Imana thanking God festival” at sector level countrywide that will attract three million participants of whom those who are addicted to drugs will change to good behaviors.
He revealed that there will be a dialogue that will also attract about 1,500 leaders who are decision makers in local government institutions, Non-governmental organizations, youth leaders, church leaders and women leaders among many others.
According to police figures, 4,149 people were arrested in drug related crimes last year, with over 71 per cent of them aged between 18 and 35 years.
At least 48 drug dealers who were arrested last year were aged below 18 years, according to the report. In the last five years, Police recorded 18,383 cases related to narcotic drugs.
Between 2010 and 2015, the neuro-psychiatric hospital of Ndera received 1,432 patients with mental illnesses caused by use of drugs, according to statistics from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
The number increased to 2,804 in 2016 before decreasing to 1,960 last year.
Due to this situation, Birindabagabo said that a council composed of faith based-organizations, church leaders and civil societies was established to drive efforts in eliminating drug abuse.
The team operates together with National Task Force for Drugs Education of the government of Rwanda.
“In two weeks from 22nd November to 02nd December, the dialogue on 29th November will connect decision makers including faith based-organizations’ leaders, civil societies, security organs, public and private institutions’ leaders, youth leaders and others,” he said.
ADEPR Legal Representative Rev. Euphrem Karuranga added that youth who abandon drug abuse are supported to be reintegrated into society.
“During the campaign, those who take oath of giving up drug abuse, we do follow up and make sure they do not fall back into drug abuse,” he added.
He added that 67 per cent of those who had been targeted in previous campaigns abandoned drug abuse.
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