Editorial: The drugs menace should be met head on

Once in a while, the police ceremoniously carry out operations to destroy impounded drugs and illicit liquors. Most of the items are usually smuggled from neighbouring countries and despite the many arrests and heavy penalties, dealers have not been discouraged.

Once in a while, the police ceremoniously carry out operations to destroy impounded drugs and illicit liquors. Most of the items are usually smuggled from neighbouring countries and despite the many arrests and heavy penalties, dealers have not been discouraged.

Drug trafficking is a lucrative business, and despite the government’s plans to put in place tough measures such as slapping a life sentence on drug traffickers, it will hardly put a dent on the drugs flow.

Rwanda’s drug problem is not as pronounced as in our neighbouring countries where hard drugs have been the order of the day for decades. But now heroin, cocaine and amphetamines have managed to find their way in, especially among the youth.

Many drug users when arrested are thrown in jail as if that is the remedy and yet their suppliers continue to flourish. The debate on how to better handle the issue has continued on and on, but nothing comes of it, if anything, drug abuse incidences seem to be on the rise.

In fact there is conventional belief that returning students from overseas, especially the US and a lesser extent, Europe, have a hand in the proliferation of drug abuse among the youth.

A recent mini survey carried out by this newspaper via one of its social media platforms gave some insightful results. The question was when should students studying or intending to study abroad be subjected to a drugs test.

35 per cent supported that all who returned should be screened while 58 percent were of the view that both going and returning students should be tested. That is the extent of the perception that drugs are foreign-influenced and that is the biggest mistake we could ever commit.

As long as we do not own the problem and seek to sweep it under someone else’s carpet, the war against drug abuse will have been lost before firing a single shot.

 

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