23 November 2017

Uganda: Alcoholism, Drug Addiction Rising Among Children

Hope and Beyond, an organization which helps alcohol and drug abuse victims to recover, has said it is launching a study to investigate why the number of children abusing alcohol and drugs is increasing.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday to announce their upcoming open day tomorrow (Friday), David Kalema the executive director said in 2011 when they opened the facility, they had 60 children and in 2014, the number had grown to 300 and this year over 600 have gone through the institute.

"Our statistics show that Kampala and Western Uganda have the highest number of children addicted to alcohol and drugs which include; tobacco, cocain, kuber and marijuana, but the good news is that they are responding to treatment appropriately," he said.

He explained that the approach they are using to reverse addiction is different from that in government hospitals which is borrowed from Britain, because alcohol consumption in Uganda has cultural attachment unlike in United Kingdom where it is associated with peer pressure.

"We have registered a positive attitude among those who have been treated from here, many of whom have reduced expenditure on alcohol , those who came with severe alcohol symptoms have also reduced and majority have abstained," he said.

According to Prof Wouter Vanderplasschen from Ghent University in Belgium, they have partnered with the center to conduct the research because even in Belgium, they are facing the similar challenge and they are wondering how Hope and Beyond has managed to achieve such results.

"The overall impact of alcohol abuse in people needs a holistic approach for treatment because the causes include inheritance, personality, parental control, vulnerability, culture and it can be social," he said adding that some of the impacts include, family disharmony, family violence, parental conflicts, parental separation and loss plus problems with family relationships, he said.

Hugo Van den Berge the former head of Hope for Addiction Recovery Center in Belgium the economic consequences of having a young population indulging alcohol and substance addiction include high school dropout rates, loss of a productive population and such behavior needs to be reversed at an early age.

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