By Confidente Reporter
HEALTH deputy minister, Juliet Kavetuna said that there is a lack of proper awareness and guidance from parents, social workers, teachers and society about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse by the youth.
Kavetuna made these remarks recently as Namibia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, under the theme: Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.
Kavetuna further remarked that the voices of children and youth should be heard, to better know how to assist them and how to combat the use and misuse of alcohol and drugs in our society.
“Substance abuse has a devastating effect on young people during school-going and early adult years. The entrapment of youth in drug and alcohol abuse, poses distinct barriers to their development to become responsible and productive citizens.
“It is of utmost importance that we educate our children and youth, about the devastating effects of drugs and the usage of alcohol, as well as providing them with the necessary information, support and coping capacities, to deal with life challenges, without resorting to substance use for comfort,” the deputy minister said.
Kavetuna also revealed that in Namibia, statistics reveal an alarming rate of substance abuse amongst the youth. According to the Namibia School Based Health Survey 2013, 58 percent of the respondents indicated the use of alcohol.
“Among students whoever used drugs, 48 percent first used drugs before the age of 14 years. Among students who ever smoked cigarettes, 58 percent of them first tried a cigarette before the age of 14 years.
“According to the Synthesis Report media released by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in 2015, 40 percent of learners indicate that the use of drugs of their parents causes harm to them. The Namibia Demographic Health Survey of 2013 further shows that, 45.2 percent of female respondents between the ages of 15 and 49 years consume 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day; with 37.5 percent of male respondents consuming 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day.”
It is also essential that parents, teachers, communities and the youth themselves are educated about the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, so that they can identify the early onset and refer the affected person for help, as soon as possible.
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