This week has seen an intense nationwide campaign against drug abuse, with illicit drugs and alcohol worth millions of Rwandan Francs torched in public, across the country. Drugs and alcohol related offences have topped the list of crimes, at least since 2008, with domestic crimes and gender based violence featuring prominently.
To successfully bring an end to drug abuse, it is important to trace the entire chain of supply and distribution of the various drugs and illicit alcohol. We must adopt a holistic and more participatory approach to block the supply chain.
It is known that marijuana – the common drug consumed – and the various types of banned alcohol are smuggled from neighbouring countries. The people involved in this business should be identified and punished decisively.
Grassroots sensitizations should be intensified, and the people encouraged to share information, about those involved in the trade, with the authorities. Grassroots leaders, whose villages are mostly affected, should embark on community policing mechanisms to help identify the culprits. These leaders know what goes on within the communities and it is unacceptable to claim ignorance, yet the effects of drug abuse continue to affect the people they lead.
As the campaign to curb drug abuse intensifies, there should also be community level initiatives to help addicts recover.