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Opinion

Alcohol and Drugs, the Emerging Humanitarian Disaster in Teso

OPINION

 

By Okwi Constantine

Pan-African Activist

Former Parliamentary Candidate

Kibale County, Pallisa

 

I have had the opportunity of traversing Teso communities from Pallisa, Bukedea, Kumi, Ngora, Serere, Soroti, Amuria to Katakwi, and I have witnessed a consistently growing crisis of abuse of drugs and alcohol among the Iteso.

 

While adults are losing it on alcohol and other unsafe concoctions of industrial origin, produced from central and other parts of Uganda, but commonly sold in Teso, the youth are taking it a notch higher by integrating cannabis (marijuana), Khat (Mira) Dallis grass (paspalum), gray hair (akurwo) and other dangerous drugs of international concern.

 

As a social activist, I find myself mixing with the people and what is observed can only be explained as the experience of a person who shares a blood line with a mad man. I see my people consuming themselves into a state of little or no productivity, mendicancy, poverty and death.

 

The habit cuts across generations, and it is not uncommon to find a father and son sharing a table of this disastrous dine.

 

When I review literature of Iteso in the past, alcohol consumption was a highly guarded activity, with women, youth and children restricted and only a relaxation activity for elders, after a day’s work. Unfortunately, today, a growing many Iteso, take to drinking as their full-time job, hence the growing mendicancy, crime, poverty, morbidity and death.

 

It is feared that the growing rate of theft, teenage pregnancy, school drop outs, mob justice, and “poison” associated death are a result of this crisis.

 

One disturbing reality is that society seems to have reneged on its social responsibility as you find cases of known drug traffickers freely living within and expanding their business of drug dealing and consumption, only to receive public recognition without corrective reproach.

 

The evil of alcohol and drug abuse has broken down so many families, with children fighting and beating their parents, family assets like land, hoes and saucepans sold in order to purchase the drugs.

 

It is time society acted, in replication of the approach of the past that young people are kept away from alcohol and drugs and where extremes are registered, quick report to government authorities should be undertaken so as to aid in early rehabilitation of those affected.

 

Government authorities, like local council leaders and police should take keen interest on social gathering areas and intervene in this growing crisis.

 

It is time for all of us to save the future of Teso, by stopping the dangerous consumption of alcohol and other drugs.

 

By Okwi Constantine

Pan-African Activist

Former Parliamentary Candidate

Kibale County

Pallisa

0772192781

consyokwi@gmail.com

 

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