Arusha Times (Arusha)

9 February 2013

Tanzania: Students Lead in Drug Abuse and Alcoholism

Use of illicit liquor and outlawed drugs are among major contributors to mental disorders in Arusha Region and the mental health department at the Regional Hospital of Mount Meru reports increasing patients of this nature.

At the moment alcohol seems to be topping the bill of such intoxicants according to latest figures obtained from the Mental Health Department Nursing officer, Sr Angela Gurti. Apparently, students feature prominently in drug abuse and alcoholism.

Speaking to this reporter at her office Sr Gurti revealed that the number of people using drugs and those who are alcoholic increases with each passing year and the major challenge here is that many of the victims are too addicted to drop the habit.

It is reported that good number of drug abusers are youths in Arusha at the age between 15 to 35 years most being High School, College and University students with the boys topping the bill.

"Even worse, it is the learned youth, mostly College and High school students who are currently using various forms of narcotic drugs and highly intoxicating liquor," said the In-Charge at the hospital adding that at least Primary Pupils seem to be steering away from the vices.

At average there are at least 1220 cases of people using illicit alcohol who report for help at the hospital with the department recording an average alcoholic figure of 860 males and nearly 360 females per year

The use of marijuana is second with an average figure of 1064 users recorded every year and among them 855 males and 209 female bhang smokers.

When it comes to narcotic drugs like heroin, Arusha records an average of 640 users per year who either sniff or inject themselves, among them 509 men and 131 women.

Nurse Gurti noted that effects of drugs are widely known in the society but still the users are increasing and at least every day they are receiving youths for counseling saying that many of them are sent there by parents.

"We are receiving youths for counseling on daily basis but a good number of them are actually forced to attend counseling sessions here they don't come voluntarily which just goes to show how bad the situation is out there," said Ms Gurti.

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