‘We have to talk to our children about sex, alcohol and drugs. Drugs are killing our children. As parents, we are supposed to be good role models.’ – Chaka Chaka
By Surihe Gaomas
Windhoek and the South top other regions in terms of alcohol consumption, according to a recent study.
Although alcohol is considered far less harmful compared to illicit drugs, the abuse of this intoxicant remains one of the most serious health problems in the country, more so in Windhoek and in the South of the country.
These shocking findings are contained in a recent study that focused on substance abuse. The study reveals that Windhoek has the highest percentage of alcohol drinkers at 69.9 percent of the total adult population, followed by the South at 65.2 percent.
In contrast, northern regions like Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena scored the lowest combined percentage of 26 percent with regard to alcohol consumption.
According to the study conducted by the Social Impact Assessment and Policy Analysis Corporation, more than half of all Namibian adults consume an average of 10 litres of alcohol a week, while two in five people smoke cigarettes.
Against these alarming statistics, Namibia and the rest of the world yesterday commemorated International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Every year June 26, strong awareness is raised on the dangers of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. This year’s event was commemorated under the theme: “Do Drugs or Alcohol Control Your Life? Your Community. No Place for Drugs.”
Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, said it was high time that Namibians adopt “no place for drugs” in their lives, especially the youth where such abuse is believed to be high.
“No place for drugs in my community, no place for drugs in my life, no place for drugs in my school and no place for drugs in my body. There is need to take action now,” he said in his address to mainly young people who attended the event.
It turns out that youth aged between 18 and 26 years have become addicted to a combination of alcohol, dagga, mandrax and cocaine.
Besides other contributing factors to this growing problem, Kamwi cited lack of knowledge and information as a major reason. Although the Ministry of Safety and Security’s Drug Law and Enforcement unit has seized 1192 ecstasy tablets, 634 mandrax tablets and 421 kilogrammes of dagga, efforts to rid the country of these illicit substances are falling short.
“Namibia is mainly a transit country for these drugs, whose origins are in neighbouring countries, but we too are now a consuming country… Drugs are still being produced and trafficked to supply the market, being those who are addicted to drugs,” explained Kamwi.
Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka said parents have to openly talk about this problem with young people.
“We have to talk to our children about sex, alcohol and drugs. Drugs are killing our children. As parents, we are supposed to be good role models. The children are the future,” said Chaka Chaka.
Chaka Chaka made an offer to assist 17-year-old Elrico /Narib from Katutura out of his drinking habits and drug use, by paying his school fees next year.
“I will pay for your school fees, I will do everything. You will go back to school next year,” said Chaka Chaka after adopting this Namibian street child.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Simon Nhongo said as much as illicit drugs feature high on the agenda, alcohol consumption is perceived as less harmful.
He said while men are more likely to consume alcohol more than women, the latest study also revealed that “hard liquor” was drank more in the central areas compared to the North.
“The study found that traditional beer was widely consumed in large quantities in the North, while bottled beer was more common in the South and urban areas, including Windhoek,” said Nhongo.
The day also witnessed drama and music performances at the Parliament Gardens by King’s Daughters and Mystery Makers.