‘The youths are the leaders of tomorrow,’ many people will be heard saying occasionally. This is very true since even a country whose next generation of young people that have no clear vision and a desire for a better tomorrow could be counted to be a country going in the wrong direction.
This means that every dynamic society that wishes to have a prosperous and bright future like ours will have to devise all possible ways it can to help make its young people an ambitious lot who are free of crime.
One of the problems that our society is facing today is the abuse of drugs and use of illicit drugs an action which puts the ‘tomorrow’s leader’ (youth) at stake.
Recently, a report from the Ministry of youth showed that the use of illicit drugs amongst children aged below 15 years had reached alarming levels with 50 percent of current cases involving minors.
According to the report’s figures, another 30 percent of drug users are between 15 and 20 years old while the remaining 5 percent are adults above 25.
The youth in most cases are attracted in using drugs as a means of satisfying their young egos, something which puts their lives at a very high risk.
A young person who is high on drugs will not compromise his/her life, through indulging in all sorts of behaviours including unsafe sexual behaviour that could lead to contracting of the deadly HIV.
Research shows that use of drugs in the youth is used as an easy way of eliminating fear among them so they can participate in bad activities.
You will find that most of the young people who are exposed to this danger include street children and other distressed youth that have access to drugs like Alcohol, Mila (grass popularly known as Mailungi), glue, Marijuana, cocaine, coal and other drugs.
Substance abuse has many negative physiological health effects, ranging from minor issues like digestion problems or respiratory infections, to potentially fatal diseases, like AIDS and hepatitis C. Of course, the effects depend on the drug and on the amount, method and frequency of use.
Some drugs are very addictive, like heroin, while others are less so. But the result is that regular drug abuse or sustained exposure to a drug - even for a short period of time - can cause physiological dependence, which means that when the person stops taking drugs, he/she experiences physical withdrawal symptoms and a craving for the drug.
Drug abuse also causes brain damage. Again, depending on the drug, the strength and character of this damage varies. But one thing is clear, drug abuse affects the way the brain functions and alters its responses to the world.
That is what psychoactive means, after all, something that acts on your brain. How drug abuse will affect your behaviour, actions, feelings and motivations is unpredictable. By meddling in the natural ways the brain functions, abusers exposes themselves to risks they may not even have imagined.
Drug abuse also damages the ability of people to act as free and conscious beings, capable of taking action to fulfil their needs.
How free drug abusers are when they have no control over their actions or reactions is debatable. What is unarguable, however, is that by giving in to bio-chemical processes that are deviant, a drug abuser loses what makes humans admirable and unique.
With all this in the limelight therefore, everyone ought to think and find solutions on how we could go around this problem and save our youths from the abuse of drugs in order for our country to inherit a much sober generation.
However, the battle of fighting this deadly problem has to be spearheaded by every member of this society because it has been established that it is us the members of this society that in some way or the other encourage the abuse of these drugs.
Most of these drugs come from neighbouring countries and are imported by some members of our society while others are from within the country where they are grown illegally like in the provinces of Butare, Ruhengeri, Byumba, Cyangugu, and Umutara.
So while all you people are out there dealing in the business of illicit drugs, think about the outcome of your trade and become a bit patriotic. Think about these young people’s lives that you are putting to risk and change your ways for a better tomorrow of our beloved society.