Parents must commit to fight drug abuse – Binagwaho
The Minister of Health Dr Agnes Binagwaho, says the role of parents and local leaders is necessary in the fight against drug abuse among the youth.
She said this yesterday at a function to mark the World Drug Day, a day set aside to focus on fighting narcotics trade.
Held at KIST Stadium, it was marked under the theme Global Action for Healthy Communities Without Drugs, where thousands of youth from different schools gathered.
Binagwaho urged the youth to shun drug abuse in order to maintain good health.
Ministry of Health statistics specify that more than half the youth use drug substances with seven per cent dependent on alcohol, 4.8 per cent on tobacco and 2.5 per cent addicted to cannabis.
Celestine Nitwagyengimana, 27, was a drug addict right through school until he was forced by his addiction to quit school while in his senior three.
He used to drink local brew, smoke cigarettes and other drugs.
While giving his testimony to the youth yesterday, he said drugs had become a part of his life as he couldn’t eat or study without them.
At some point he even lost his mind.
“All I could think of was drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. I couldn’t pick anything in class as my mind wasn’t stable so I quit school. Life became hard and meaningless as no one wanted to be around me, apart from my fellow drug addicts who were also leading miserable lives,” he recalled.
At the age of 25, Nitwagyengimana managed to get rid of his addiction, look for help and start leading a meaningful life. He sought help at a youth centre where they helped him enrol in a beauty school.
Today, he works as a hair dresser and trains motorbike riding. He is a happy and changed man who many people like now, unlike in the past when he was still taking drugs.
This testimony and many other messages were an inspiration to many youth who committed not to abuse drugs.
In an interview with The New Times, Hawa Nzamukosha 16, a senior two student at Groupe Scholaire Aper, said she thought drugs aren’t entirely bad as she believed they make one strong and intelligent.
However, after listening to numerous testimonies and messages from different leaders her perception about drugs changed, she promised never to engage in drug abuse, urging other youths to keep away from drugs as well.
Also, statistics from police indicate that in 2010, drug abuse was responsible for 140 road accidents in which, 30 people died, 45 were seriously injured and 90 vehicles damaged beyond repair.
Police operations arrested 2,011 drug smugglers, 190 of whom were female. Over 2,090 kilograms of cannabis was impounded in the onslaught, by October last year.
By Maria Kaitesi, The New Times
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