The anti-substance abuse march that was done from four points in Gaborone on the March 14 ended with entertaining dramas, music, poems and motivational speeches at the Gaborone secondary school grounds.
It emerged during the event that abuse has for a while been tackled with the would-be beneficiaries of the messages being passed and not taking heed.
Coordinator of the anti drug and substance abuse in the Department of Basic Education in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MES), Lesego Morake, said during the event that they as the ministry would not relent in sending messages to young people against the use of drugs and alcohol.
“It is not cool to use drugs. Reach for the stars, not drugs,” said Morake.
A Career Guidance Teacher at Nanogang Junior Secondary School, Esther Mogotsi, schools give psycho-social support to those affected by drug abuse, both individually and as group.
“Many have fallen into this and many have rescued themselves from it. Out of 40 people you can talk of 22 who managed to be rescued and remain with 12. They need love. If love is expressed they open up. We take addicts to boot camps, have fun, taking drinks and fruits, so they forget the drug use,” Mogotsi said.
A convict, Ronald Sebolai, who is serving extra-mural activities at Gasita, told students ÔÇô predominantly Junior Secondary students ÔÇô that he was an intelligent student all his school years.
There were years in which he monopolised position one in schools. He went to University and all fellow students of his who frequented his hostel for his help in assignments were doctors. He has nothing to show for his intelligence as he will only be completing his sentence. Mischief, he advised, does not pay. Neither does crime.
An ex-convict, Mothei Sejakgomo of the Botswana Institute of Rehabilitation and Re-integration of offenders (BIRRO) who co-organised the event with MESD said according to WHO tobacco use data availed in December 2012, 43.3% of Botswana’s 2.1 million use tobaccos. Some 23.65 are youth aged between 13-15 compared to 19.7% of the adult population.
“A note on alcohol consumption and sexual behavior of youth document indicates that induced intoxication influences non-use of condoms, inconsistent condom use by alcohol users partly explains why the incidence of sexually transmitted infections is significantly higher among alcohol users than non-alcohol users,” Sejakgomo said.
He said teenagers today admit extensive experimentation.
According to a study, he said, 90% of teens said they used alcohol, over 50% used marijuana, 17% have used cocaine and 13% have used some form of hallucinogenic drug.
The theme of the event was ‘Empowering myself to be a non drug and alcohol user today, for tomorrow and the future’.