Ethiopia: Multiple Measure Needed to Create Drug Free Youth, Experts

Addis Ababa April 09/2018 Multiple actions needed to create drug free youth, a decisive work force in the country against the menace of drug addiction by working in collaboration with government and the public institutions, experts in the field recommended.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, experts said that concerted efforts should be exerted on top of establishing independent institution to ease the problem of drug addiction across the country.

According to a research published on Journal of Pharmaceuticals Care and Health Services, drug abuse and associated problems are of current global concern. It has become an epidemic in some parts of African regions.

The common substances abused in most African countries are alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or marihuana and khat. In case of Ethiopia, alcohol, khat and tobacco are the most widely abused drugs.

Professor Tsige Gebremariam, President of the Ethiopia Science Academy said policy makers must work in collaboration with the public including the drug addicts to mitigate the dire consequences of drug abuse.

"We have to have national consensus regarding this issue before they go out of control and affect the most productive sector of the society, we need to have national campaign by preparing long term and short term plans to eradicate this problem," he said.

Elias Kahele, who was once a drug addict for 13 years now is a leading activist at "Mekuamya" community development organization, said alcohol and drug addiction is not properly addressed.

His organization is working in collaboration with the government and various concerned institutions focusing in awareness creation to tackle the problem of drug addiction.

Elias added "We must call upon political, religious leaders, professional associations and the society to be effectively committed to the prevention of the impending crisis that is looming."

Professor Atalay Alem, Senior Psychiatrists at Addis Ababa University said on his part in order to consult the government and support law makers and to upgrade the awareness of the society, an institution that works on controlling alcoholism and drug abuse need to be established.

"This issue is under the jurisdiction of Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority but given the depth and extent of the problem, this social problem with multiple dimensions cannot be solved with the effort of a single institution," he added.

Solomon Tefera, Assistant professor of Psychiatry at Addis Ababa University noted that the formulation of an institution is significant to take remedial activities to tackle the problem in a concerted manner by pulling together the current scattered efforts.

"We need to share and benchmark the experiences from other countries as a step in establishing similar institution, which will address a potential disaster triggered by the proliferation of alcohol and drug addiction," he added.

In Ethiopia the proliferation of alcoholism and drug addiction emanates from various social and economic factors including laxity in the enforcement of laws on drugs, irresponsible advertisements on alcoholic drinks, unemployment and abuse of essential drugs meant for the treatment of other diseases.

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