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Drug abuse is causing turmoil in Arua

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2006 03:00 AM

OVER the last few months the media has been awash with stories of domestic violence and child abduction, but the problem of drug abuse has not been addressed yet it accounts for many cases of violence in our community.

OVER the last few months the media has been awash with stories of domestic violence and child abduction, but the problem of drug abuse has not been addressed yet it accounts for many cases of violence in our community.

Desmond Kenyi

OVER the last few months the media has been awash with stories of domestic violence and child abduction, but the problem of drug abuse has not been addressed yet it accounts for many cases of violence in our community.

Arua district and my village Ociba in particular, seems to be the centre for growing of some of the illegal drugs like mairungi (mir’a) and opium. mairungi is believed to have originated from Somalia where long-distance truck drivers used it to stave off sleep on the Mombasa-Kampala journey and beyond.
A recent survey by a local NGO shows that 85 percent of the population in Arua is addicted to mairungi. This is partly because many people are engaged in selling the drug, which has become a means of living for them. Consequently, children as young as nine years are using the drug.

It is therefore not surprising that there is a rise in crime like defilement, theft, robbery and rape. The number of school dropouts and cases of people with mental disorders is also increasing in Arua town.

Cases of family neglect, domestic violence, separations and divorce have become more common in the recent past. This has forced children from broken or unstable marriages to move to the streets in search of basic needs. These children end up joining bad peer groups known as ‘Juakali’ in Arua town.

Most women who engage in selling mairungi near video and disco halls in Arua town usually return home very late in the night. This denies the children motherly care and makes their husbands suspicious that they are having affairs with their customers, leading to more domestic violence.

NGOs, the Government and the people should join hands to stop drug abuse. There is need for strict enforcement of the laws against consumption of illegal drugs because written laws are useless if not enforced. Secondly, alternative means of earning a living should be sought for the people who grow and sell mairungi. The government needs to address the issue of poverty because an idle mind is normally the devil’s workshop.

Projects should also be put in place to keep the youths busy. Drama and sports clubs can be a starting point. Women should be encouraged to do other business instead of selling drugs. Loans should be easier to access for the women to set up businesses.

The writer is a resident of Arua town

Drug abuse is causing turmoil in Arua

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