The use of harmful habit forming drugs is a growing problem in our societies today. Some of these habits do not only damage the health of the individuals but in one way or the other harm those around them.
If alcohol has brought much joy to the man, it has also brought much suffering especially to the woman and the children of the man who drinks. A little alcohol now and then may do no harm. But too often a little lead to a lot. In our community, heavy or excessive drinking is one of the underlying causes of health problems even for those who do not drink. Not only can drunkenness harm the health of those who drink through diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, but it also hurts the family and community in many ways. Through loss of judgment, loss of self respect,it leads to much unhappiness , waste of resources and violence often affecting those who are close to them.
Many fathers have spent their last bit of money on drinking when their children are hungry. Many sicknesses result because a man spends all the money he earns on drinking rather than improving his family's living condition. Many persons hate themselves because they have hurt those they love and yet take another drink to forget.
Smoking is yet another dangerous habit. There are many reasons why smoking is dangerous to your own and your family's health.
Smoking increases the risk of cancer of the lungs and lips.
Smoking increases serious diseases of the lungs including chronic bronchitis.
Smoking can help cause stomach ulcers or make it worst.
Children whose parents smoke have more cases of pneumonia and other respiratory illness.
Smoking increases your chances of suffering from heart disease or stroke.
Children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are smaller and develop more slowly.
Also smoking costs money. It looks like little is spent but it adds up to a lot.
In addition alcohol and tobacco, many people in our communities are using illegal drugs. These drugs include marijuana, opium and cocaine. Some drugs such as cocaine and heroin are very addictive, a person may try the drugs only once and feel that he needs it more and more. Other drugs become addictive after using it for a longer period of time.
Addiction is a dangerous trap that can lead to serious health problems or even death.
People usually start taking drugs to escape the hardships, forget the hunger or calm the pain in their lives. Like the people in northern part of Uganda became addicted to alcohol in order to forget the hardship and calm the pain they were going through during the Lords Resistance War. And now that they are settling in their homes, they try to stop these addiction but instead they become miserable ,sick , violent and often commit crimes, go hungry or neglect their families. Thus, drug use become a problem not only to a person but to the whole family and community.
A community which recognizes these can do much to encourage those who are willing to make changes if you are concerned about the misuse of alcohol in your community, help organize a meeting to discuss these problems and decide what actions to take.
I think the following ways can help to solve the problems of addiction and drug abuse;
-Be helpful and supportive to someone trying to overcome drug use.
-Members of the community who have been addicted to drugs but have stopped the habit can form a “support group” to help others to give up alcohol or drugs.
-Families, schools and health workers can tell children about the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs.
-Work to correct some of the problems in your communities that lead people to use drugs e.g hunger, exploitation, lack of opportunities to lead better life.
BY SIMBRELLA, St.marys Lacor. Gulu.