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Gov't Asked to Invest in Community Sensitization Against Drug Abuse

Paul Mugisa, a rehabilitation expert in Kampala says the country is faced with the challenge of drug abuse but the hidden problem has not yet been addressed by the government which spends a lot on treatment costs.

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Rehabilitation and Treatment Centres for victims of drug abuse have asked the government to provide financial support to the centres create awareness.

This follows cases of increased drug abuse notably amongst teenagers and youths in Kampala and other urban areas, putting the lives of young people at health and social risk.

Paul Mugisa, a rehabilitation expert in Kampala says that if there is investment in sensitization of the public about the dangers of drug abuse, the government will spend less on treatment costs.

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According to a report by the Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention, alcohol abuse costs the government millions in the treatment of victims of domestic violence triggered by alcohol and cases related to drug abuse yet 25% of mental cases in the country are as a result of drug abuse. 

Counsellors also want the government to increase and strengthen the mental hospitals in the country. Currently, the country has only one mental treatment centre in Kampala with several treatment centres at regional hospitals.

Joram Mugalu, a counsellor with Recovery Solutions Treatment and Counselling Centre in Kampala also suggests that government should recognize the profession by employing counsellors in all government hospitals on a full-time basis so that they can help the doctors in analyzing the problems of patients and where necessary provide therapeutically and physiological support.

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According to counsellors, drugs abuse among teenagers from the age of 11-17 years is on the increase as schools closed following the out break of the corona virus pandemic.

Some teenagers reportedly indulged in abusing drugs like nail polish, glue, mairungi, alcohol because they were free from strict regulations.

Fight Drug Abuse Organization (FDA) Executive Director, Josephine Afaayo however says that her organization has handled many cases of addiction among youth. She notes that although they have done more work in drug abuse prevention among children, youth and parents through education and sensitization programs in schools and communities more needs to be done.

A police report of 2017 indicated that youth in Uganda most especially those in slums have engaged in various crimes and violent actions ranging from theft, assault, fighting amongst themselves, alcohol and drug abuse, capital offences like murder and rape, cyber-crimes, breakings, robberies among others. This has led to increased crime for example in 2017, there were 181 juveniles suspected for defilement, 967 for theft, 144 for assault, 291 for breakings, and 68 for robbery.

According to the Youth Drug abuse Prevention project in Nansana, drug abuse and other substances such as alcohol, khati, drugs and tobacco continues to pose a serious challenge to the health, the social and economic well-being of young people in Uganda.

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