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Drugs have captured our youth

Some moons ago, when the capital city was not as developed as it is now, when the only ‘coolest’ place for teens, youth and even young adults was the main mall, life was easy. The movie house in the main mall was the only place for real entertainment.

Malls have since mushroomed all over, even at our villages. As with any developed country, developments are good, but the only downside is that there also come with also a myriad of problems. In our case, our malls and other entertainment areas are fast becoming a nuisance, places where our children indulge in acts that cannot be mentioned in a family paper like this one.

To say that drugs have become the major affliction of society is not stating the situation too strongly. Drugs are fast becoming a problem in this country particularly among teens and youth. I sometimes consider myself ‘lucky’ because during my time, there were no hard drugs, the kind of drugs we see or hear about today. As I recall, the drug of choice back then was glue. Glue sniffers, and very few are still alive, would buy this very smelly sticky thing, pour the contents into an empty pint, sit in a dark corner somewhere and sniff their noses and senses away before falling into a deep slumber. The sniffers were not known for violence and the few that are still alive, and I am not exaggerating, have now lost use of their legs or if they haven’t yet, they walk like they are toddlers learning how to walk for the first time.

Most teens come into contact with drugs in some form or another at some point in their life. If they do decide to take them - and the majority of teens don’t - there are many possible reasons why. For some, it might be a case of rebellion, or a need to fit in; others might use them as a way to relax, get high, and lose their inhibitions;  or it could even be as simple as curiosity - a chance to experiment with different drugs and see what it’s like.  Your

teenager might enter high school as a child, but they will graduate as a young adult. This five-year period is transformational — full of growth, hardships and self-discovery. It’s also an experimental time — and for millions of teens, that means trying drugs and alcohol. Sadly, some teens doing drugs will suffer serious lifelong consequences as a result of substance use.

What children may not realise is that ultimately every action has a consequence. Once they leave school, consequences of addiction include brain abnormalities, slowed thinking and impaired learning and memory, and in worst case scenarios, a messed up future and death. It can also deplete the brain of certain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, sending high schooler’s into a prolonged depression and leaving them susceptible for more destructive behaviours.

There are many reported cases of drug abuse in our schools today. Gone are the days when school heads and teachers worried about learners performing badly in their studies, when they worried whether their schools will emerge tops when the results come out the following year. Drug abuse has taken centre stage now in our schools. Visit any school today, government or private, the situation is the same. Drug lords have invaded our schools and slowly destroying this generation.

One time at a school I used to work at, they organised a surprise raid among students. A few were caught with dagga or traces of it, some had in their possession an assortment of weapons ranging from catapults to knives while this other female student, and I will never forget this one, had an ice cold Savannah bottle in her bag.

Those who saw the bottle say it was, as someone observed the other day, children do not sell drugs, it’s the adults that do. And like most people selling alcoholic drinks, most drug peddlers do not use drugs themselves.

Tumy on Monday



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