[PHOTOS]: Gov't, faith-based organisations in fresh drive against narcotic drugs
Government institutions including ministries as well as faith-based organisations and the civil society, on Tuesday, conducted a joint campaign to raise awareness against illicit drugs in Gasabo District.
Over 1200 young people turned up for the sensitization campaign held at the Independent University of Kigali (ULK).
The campaign brought together ministries of Health, Youth, Gender and Family Promotion, Rwanda Biomedical Centre as well as Rwanda National Police.
Rosemary Mbabazi, Minster of Youth.
The continuous exercise also including the Ministry of Local Government was launched in December last year.
It combines aspects of prevention and killing the local market, strengthening partnership against drug dealers, identifying and rehabilitating addicts.
Statistics indicate that 18 percent of all the 3941 cases recorded last year were related to drugs. The report further shows that a total of 4149 people were arrested in drug related crimes in the same period, with over 71 percent of them aged between 18 and 35 years.
At least 48 drug dealers arrested last year were aged below 18 years, according to the report.
In the last five years, Police recorded 18,383 cases related to narcotic drugs.
The State Minister in the Ministry of Health in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, while addressing the youth at ULK, urged them to desist from abusing psychotropic substances adding that there is a relationship between addictive drugs, excessive alcohol and increased susceptibility to infections.
Medical experts say that some cases of heart, liver, kidney and mental problems have been attributed to abuse of narcotic drugs.
Dr. Ndimubanzi said that the increase in mental related illnesses is attributed to abuse of drugs.
The State Minister in the Ministry of Health in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi addressing the youth at ULK.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital of Ndera received 1,432 patients with mental illness caused by use of drugs, according to statistics from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
The number increased to 2804 in 2016 but recorded a slight decrease to 1960 last year. Huye Isange Rehabilitation Centre received 209 cases, last year.
The majority of those in rehabilitation centres are said to be school dropouts or in the age bracket of those supposed to be in school or part of the labour force.
The Minster of Youth, Rosemary Mbabazi noted that optimum National development and individual prosperity cannot be realized if young people are infected with the illicit drug.
She urged the youth to desist concentrate to issues of economic development, which she said is hinged on education and health body and mind.
The other government initiative, partly, to address the issue of drug abuse that mainly affect the youth, is a guarantee and grant scheme that was set aside to help the young people in general to start self-help projects.
Through the Youth Connekt programme, the best 30 youth innovators are awarded every year.
These efforts are meant to support other initiatives that also include rehabilitations, operations and arrest of drug dealers as well as awareness campaigns targeting all groups to prevent new users.
On his part, Bishop Alex Birindabagabo told the youth that abusing drugs is a sin according to Christian principles.