By Desie Heita
Tsumeb is battling drug and substance abuse among school-going youth as drug lords intensify their selling tactics. Aggravating the situation is the fact that schoolteachers are also indulging in drug abuse.
To contain this endemic plague, the police have resorted to drug search campaigns at schools.
“Learners have become victims of drug abuse and stooges of teachers indulging in such activities,” said Engel Nawatiseb, the Mayor of Tsumeb.
Many of the drug dealers are foreign nationals, he says.
The municipality wants to set up a withdrawal programme to help those who want to quit their addiction.
“It is not too late. We want to help you to help yourself. Please come to us, we want to help you,” Nawatiseb pleaded. Those who wish to be helped should register with the mayor’s office.
“The youth-scene at the town has been filled with more youth indulging in drug abuse instead of employing more efforts to secure jobs. People from other towns are penetrating the job market while our local unemployed youth are in a state of drugged mentality.
“They are forever drugged, cannot make efforts to seek jobs and they stay in bushes like monkeys, simply to smoke dagga,” said Nawatiseb.
The municipality donated a centre to the youth as an encouragement for them to engage in developmental activities rather than drugs. The mayor said the problem of drug abuse escalated to the extent that the youth started using the centre for their activities.
Instead of developmental projects, youth organised entertainment activities through which they could access drugs, forcing the municipality to close the centre.
The centre has since re-opened and Nawatiseb said progressive attempts are being made by the youth to fight drug abuse.
“Today, the youth are producing musical and video programmes to display their talent at the Arts Performance Centre (APC), where more than 100 young artists trained in various musical disciplines.
“The dynamism among youth to participate in the development of our town should continue unrestrained,” said Nawatiseb.
The municipality and the police would soon implement a ‘Youth Against Crime’ initiative to assist the police in rooting out the culprits. The objective is to drive out drug dealers and substance abusers from the town.