Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Is rampant drug abuse a sign that Batswana are unhappy?

It is nobody’s life ambition to do drugs. As children we all aspired to be doctors, nurses, firefighters; noble men and women who will contribute positively to the national agenda. But we looked around one day and realized that the world was not such a bed of roses after all. It was a tough as nails environment that was infested with heartbreak, hardship and substance abuse.

It is difficult to turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering occasioned by drug addiction and substance abuse. One can’t help but wonder if escalating drug abuse has anything to do with reports that Botswana is the unhappiest nation in the world. It only makes sense that in the fight against drug addiction we also ought to consider what could be making us crave that high so much. Botswana is a relatively young country with a small population. It’s apparent that Setswana culture has over the years been influenced by other cultures. While this infusion of cultures has brought some good, it has resulted in drugs encroaching into the country. Many citizens have ended up experimenting with drugs, in the end getting addicted; which then poses a great danger to the country’s fight against HIV-Aids. It’s a fact that taking drugs results in heightened sexual activity, which will no doubt result in the spread of HIV.

The drug situation in Botswana is a bit different from that of more developed countries, where drug use is mostly associated with the poor.  In this country, the biggest drug users are the white collar corporate employees. Drug use it associated with the high flyers; it’s a lifestyle; it’s more like a status symbol. Many parents in Botswana worry about their children and whether they have been sucked into the world of alcohol and substance abuse. The statistics are simply scary and it’s clear that drug use is prevalent even in primary schools. More and more parents are quarantining their children at home out of fear of the unsafe neighborhoods. While in the past we used to watch people taking drugs like heroin and crack cocaine in movies, they are now doing it in our own backyard. Drug addicts are our neighbors, our friends, brothers, sisters and children.

But what is the solution? We all need healing. If one person in the family is battling with addiction, it could be a sign that that person may be battling with deep rooted problems that don’t only affect him/her but also affect other people they live with. Instead of distancing ourselves from the problem and making it just about the addict or the addict’s family, we should rather try to tackle it as a community. We could even benchmark with other countries to see how they have dealt with the problem of drug and substance abuse.

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