Rwanda national police is to adopt a tight strategy of fighting drug trading in the country. Drug trading is one of the largest global businesses in which Rwanda is not optional, at some $322 billion, according to the UN World Drug Report, 2007.
The business attracts criminal organizations because the potential profits are significantly more than other criminal merchandise. The main illicit drugs all over are the opiates (mostly heroin), cocaine, cannabis, and ATS (amphetamine-type stimulants) such as amphetamines, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
A lot of effort by security organs has been put into play to tackle illegal drugs, but the problem worsens every minute. There are some legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohols which are worldwide considered acceptable.
They are only considered drugs by health professionals even though these ones are legal and usually regulated in some way by different societies despite their effect of mind-altering/addictive.
The use of drugs of some sort such as alcohol and marijuana has been common throughout the history of human civilization.
It seems that people like to consume mind-altering substances even though there may be serious health implications associated with many of these drugs. But today, there is also the criminal element that drugs attract in general.
UN estimates indicate that some 200 million people (4.8% of the world’s population aged 15-64) use illegal drugs annually, with 25 million being classed as problem users (0.6%).
Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous. Children who reach age 21 without smoking, misusing alcohol, or using illegal drugs are virtually certain never to do so.
Today, most children don’t get involved in illicit drugs but to misuse and addiction particularly the poorest are the most vulnerable.
Just recently, the UN accused celebrities the world over, of often being involved in illicit drug trafficking or illegal drug use, and that it is often glamorized. They fear that this will send out the wrong message to young people, too.
Justine Nsanzabaganwa of Kanombe who is a parent to six children also expressed extreme concern over the increased number of children involving themselves in drug use especially in the city suburb.
She said that some children always end up in trouble, even when they have made an effort to avoid it and even when they have been given proper guidance from their parents
“Just as you inculate your children against any other illnesses like measles, you can help “immunize” them against drug use by giving them the facts before they are in a risky situation,” she strongly advised.
She further said that when children don’t feel comfortable talking to parents, they are likely to seek answers elsewhere, even if their sources are unreliable. Children who are not properly informed about drug use consequences are at greater risk of engaging in unsafe behaviors and experimenting with drugs.
No parent, child, or family is immune to the effects of drugs. Recognize when your children are going through difficult times so that you can provide the support they need or seek additional care if it’s needed.
Nsanzabaganwa further said that children who have friends who use drugs are likely to try drugs themselves and those feeling socially isolated for whatever reason may account for him or her to turn to drug use.
People usually smoke drugs as a cigarette or in a wind pipe and marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in Rwanda, just like in other countries.
According to Dr. Annet Mukabaranga of King Faisal hospital, abusing marijuana for a long time makes children lose interest in going to school, deter adults from work and involving into proper relationships with people at all levels of socialization.
It could also cause legal problems especially in certain situations, such as when you are driving, because your reaction time is slower. In such a situation, it’s more difficult for the person driving to react to situations which could result into an accident.
“Other serious adverse effects include; trouble remembering things, difficulty concentrating, increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia - a feeling that people are “out to get you”, altered time perception and red bloodshot eyes,” she said.
Mukayiranga further said that just like tobacco, marijuana contains many chemicals that can hurt the lungs and cause cancer. One marijuana cigarette can cause more damage to the lungs than many tobacco cigarettes because marijuana has more tar in it and is usually smoked without filters.
She further cautioned that when you become chemically dependent on marijuana, you crave for it and you need to use more and more in order to get the same effect.
“You may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it, such as depressed feelings, trouble sleeping or nausea simply because marijuana is a lot stronger now in your body than it used to be in the past,” she said. And thus people are also more likely to abuse it and become dependent on it than they were previously.
Currently, smoking marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of any disease or condition though scientific studies are underway to test its safety and usefulness in the body “whether they can be used in treating certain medical conditions”.
In Gishenyi town at the end of last year police burnt approximately 250 kilogrammes of drugs collected from different people along the boarder of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It’s actual said that such drugs are being brought into the country by people who are coming from the Congo especially in Goma. The mayor of Gishenyi and other authorities in the area are also busy sensitizing its public about the social dangers associated with trading and using drugs.
Recently, the police arrested two people in connection with drug dealing. Mutuyeyezu Eugene 34, and Mukamana Mathilde, 33, are in police custody in connection with the trading of marijuana in the country which is criminal by law.
The Police spokesman, Inspector Willy Marcel Higiro during a telephone interview recently confirmed that Mutuyeyezu and Mukamana were arrested in Gisozi and Kinyinya sectors in Gasabo district respectively.
And he further said that more and effective investigations were underway to establish whether their other people in the country involved in the same activity.
“The two would be charged with trading illegal drugs in country, acts contrary to law. Those who use, deal, or in one way or the other, involve in drug abuse, could face a sentence of five or more years in jail,” he said.
Higiro further said that police as an institution is working hard with the help of other stakeholders to sensitize the public on the dangers of drug trafficking and trading.
“Most of our people don’t know or others forget and get involved in trading drugs in the country which illegal,” he said.
“We are advising them not to grow marijuana and encourage local leaders at the grass roots to be more vigilant about any person associating himself with such illegal activities,” Higiro said.