Joseph Owona, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Specialists in Soroti, says he has handled at least three cases of young people with mental disorders resulting from smoking Paspalum. He notes that effects of using smoking Paspalum are more worrying than Marijuana and other substances.
A number of young
people in Teso sub region have resorted to smoking Dallis grass popularly referred
to as paspalum as cases of substance abuse soar in the region. Paspalum is grown
mostly in schools and public places to provide safe ground for games.
The youth aged 16- 30, mainly high school students and
unemployed now find it easy to cut, dry and grind Paspalum for smoking.
Some cases of smoking Paspalum have
been recorded at the Psychiatric Unit in Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
Joseph Owona, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Specialists in Soroti, says he has handled at least three cases of young people
with mental disorders resulting from smoking Paspalum. He notes that effects of using smoking Paspalum are more worrying than Marijuana and other
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Substance abuse and over consumption of alcohol especially
waragi are causing a huge toll of mental illness among the youths in Teso Sub
Region, according to medics in Soroti. Records from Soroti Regional Referral Hospital indicate at least
six new patients reporting alcohol and substance abuse every month. Alcohol and
substance abuse is the second largest cause of mental illness admissions at the
Psychiatric Unit in Soroti Regional Referral Hospital after epilepsy.
Owona explains that much as epilepsy is the leading cause of
mental disorder in the unit, alcohol and substance abuse present worrying
trends. He notes that young people report stress reduction and energy boost as
some of the reasons for engaging in substance abuse. He revealed that Ngora takes a lead in substance abuse
followed by Serere, Soroti, Katakwi and Amuria districts respectively.
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One of the psychiatric patients in Soroti confided to URN
that he started using Paspalum
through the influence of his boss. “We deal in heavy
stuff like loading and offloading merchandize in town. When I appeared for the
job at first, my boss told me that I was too weak to manage his work.
introduced me Paspalum
since Marijuana was expensive for me. I later got addicted to the substance but
my family kept nagging me over it and I became restless until I was admitted
here”, he told URN. Michael Odongo, the East Kyoga Police Spokesman, says they
have not yet received any complain over the use of Paspalum since it’s not categorized under narcotics.
Owona recommends some research on Paspalum as young people venture into it.