Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

3 January 2013

Tanzania: Narcotic Drug Addiction - a Growing Social Menace

THE Zanzibar First Vice-President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad told the nation early this week that narcotic drug abuse, especially among youths in the islands, has escalated to a worrisome extent.

He said that the menace must be stemmed now. Mr Hamad was launching an anti-narcotic drugs commission whose members have been detailed to make sure that the growing canker is eliminated - an arduous task indeed, given the addiction power of nearly all illicit drugs.

The first vice-president said the islands should not have lazy youths who spend most of their time abusing illicit drugs or under the influence of the drugs. He warned that the islands prosperity may be affected or delayed for years if narcotic drug business continues.

It is imperative to mention at the outset that the drug menace is approaching a critical level on the Mainland. In yesteryears, both Zanzibar and the Mainland were used as convenient transit points by traffickers who were taking the contraband farther afield.

The Mainland remains a critical transit point but there are new developments - traffickers have found a lucrative market here. So, more and more youths venture into narcotic drug addiction, some with full knowledge of the consequences of the diabolical habit.

Narcotic drugs worth billions of shillings in black market value have been seized at various airports and border crossings - an indication that underworld characters were shunting the contraband into the country. It is critical that members of the public, especially parents, understand that narcotic drugs are surefooted killers that are making inroads in the local social fabric.

Those who abuse the narcos should understand that their world is a world of rabid men and women. It is a world of hallucination, loss of memory and violence! It is a world of lunatics, violent gangsters, scarlet prostitutes and devil-may-care outlaws.

Those in the lay world hardly know that all narcotic drugs, including bhang are very dangerous. Medics blame cocaine, heroin and other hard intoxicants such as valium and cannabis sativa, for causing lunacy and in some cases, death. Drug addicts, in most cases, laze about all day and virtually, have no potential for communal or national development.

Psychiatrists say low dozes can cause hilarity; changes in perception of time and space; loquacious euphoria; impaired coordination; misguided judgment; loss of memory and increased visual and auditory sensitivity. Higher doses can lead to illusions, delusions, depression, confusion, alienation and hallucinations.

Sometimes these symptoms may resemble psychotic episodes marked by fear and aggression. Generally, the use of illegal drugs and crime go hand in hand. In far too many cases drug abusers will literally do anything to obtain enough drugs to satisfy a habit, no wonder most bandits abuse narcotic drugs. Indeed, the Police Force must help to stem the rot. In fact, what the police impound is a tip of the iceberg.

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