It is saddening to read the recent statement given following the 2014 World Report On Drugs launch by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Counties emerging from conflicts such as South Sudan are in danger if not overwhelmed when illicit drugs bypass their borders.
Drug abuse kills ten of thousands of people every year with UN stats indicating that global illlict drug users to rise to 25% by 2050. The stats also shows that 230 million people or 5% of the world’s adult population (aged 15 to 64 years) are estimated to have use an illicit drug at least once in 2010.
Kenya for instance, around 60% of the youths get exposed to drugs in high school and about 30% of these youths are in primary. That is, in every 10 youths, 3 become addicts. Our fellow South Sudanese with youths who makes up the majority in the diaspora are not spared.
Survey carried out among the youths in the city and other areas in Kenya found out that the main majors causes of drug usages among the South Sudanese youths are; lack of guidance, support and counseling, peer pressure, no awareness or proper education, ignorance among youths, idleness, this due to lack of fees for schooling or for repatriation and availability of these drugs in large quantity and at cheaper prices.
The illicit substances abused are bhang(marijuana), Khat(Miraa), Alcohol(cheap liquor known as chang’aa/KumiKumi) and tobacco/cigarette smoking. Hard drugs have also been reported including heroin and cocaine. Cannabis is the world’s widely used substance with between 119 millions and 224 million users worldwide.
Though not all can be solved, few of these can be solved through; education awareness and campaigns, financial support to those willing to study, sports facilities and community guidance and counseling.
Drug abuse has been a major concern that is becoming a killer among the South Sudanese youths. It has led to increment in the number of school drop-outs, inconsistency in class attendance, destructive moods and attitudes.
Drugs have effects such as; threat to development and growth, fuel crime and insecurity, undermine human rights, poses risks in public health, reduces immunity and increase disease vulnerability.
With finger-counting number of months remaining to usher in South Sudan’s independent day anniversary, South Sudanese in diaspora are being taken away by drugs. War has been fought, diseases have been prevented and cured, but the current one is a major concern that need actions. If not, we shall be talking of lost future and not lost boys and girls ‘in diaspora’!