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Namibians losing battle on alcoholism and drug abuse

14/05/2018
by Rosalia David/Kelvin Chiringa
News

 The indulgence in alcoholism and drug abuse by Namibians has reached worrying levels and the fight to combat this rot seems to be bringing little if no huge breakthroughs. 

Recently, regional, national and international operations carried out by the Directorate and Customs Excise resulted in Mandrax tablets with a street value of N$687 500 at Namibia’s borders being busted.

Perhaps what is more chilling is the fact that towards the consummation of last year, police Inspector-General, Sebastian Ndeitunga himself raised the alarm over reported incidents of a new lethal drug, Flakka having infiltrated the country with two arrests made. 

The abuse has come with tears and blood with the national statistics filling up with numbers of women that have fallen by the way through gruesome passion killings induced by drunkenness often times. 

Doctor Sean Whittaker painted a grim picture of the battleground within which addicts are wrestling with law enforcement authorities, religious sects, not-for-profit organisations and family members.  

The fight seems to be not being won, if at all there have been any reports of breakthroughs as more and more addicts are filling the gap of those that would have been successfully rehabilitated. 

Says the doctor, “I think availing cheaper and more rehabilitation centres should be considered and I believe we as councilors and psychologists should come up with a strategy of engaging with students at schools than having only a life skill teacher talking about these things.”

 But what is driving the interest towards resorting to drugs in Namibia?

“Turning to drugs might seem like an easy way out but it affects a lot of people. Imagine now the poor kids have to grow up without a father or mother?” 

The Villager recently caught up with 69-year-old Windhoek based Malisa Gertze, not real name* who said she is shedding tears over her drug addicted 26-year-old daughter who disappeared in thin air after dumping her one-year old baby at home. 

Her story is the same unnerving episode of a parent who has been thrust to the edges of desperation by a cruel underworld of drug-pushers and hustlers that have closed in over her own flesh and blood. 

As she speaks with this reporter, one can not miss the quivering of her voice as she narrates her ordeal. 

“My dear I am here running around for my 26-year-old daughter’s children’s who just gives birth, drops her babies and disappears, every year it’s the same story. She can’t take care of the kids because she is out of control with drugs and I am getting old, my health won’t allow me to be running like this for long,” she sadly explains. 

She says the last time she has seen her truant daughter was when she was living under a bridge in Okahandja or somewhere in Oshikango.  

Windhoek streets are currently flooded with juveniles who have left their homes for the illusive pleasures and risky adventures that come with the freedom of street-life which is often punctuated with sex orgies and the abuse of some of the strangest substances like petrol and the like. 

“All I want to know is whether she is fine, but wanting her to come back home scares me because I have sent her out on numerous occasions because of stealing the only income we get from the pension fund as well as selling properties,” Gertze narrates to this reporter. 

Her daughter as up to now sired three children by different fathers, the eldest being   four years old while the youngest was birthed as recently as last year. 

“The last time I saw her I told her that if she gets pregnant again she must drop the child at a shelter, rather, as long as she doesn’t kill the child,” Gertze says seething with spasms of anger.  

Although the type of drugs the daughter uses are not known, Gertze says she would find small pipes on the floor and all her pills would disappear from the house.

“Before I chased her out of the house it was a nightmare, she would come home intoxicated and she would even breastfeed the first child. But what’s sad is that her friend who introduced her to drugs is now having a good job and living a normal life,” she said. 

Meanwhile, behind the veil of this ugly reality are a number of organisations battling it out daily to save souls from the grip of addiction, famous among them being the Circle of Friends (COF), a registered welfare organisation that was started in 2006 by Tony Jarman and Rupert Davids. 

First lady Monica Geingos who is passionate about young people is also in the trenches with her Free Your Mind initiative that is bringing students together to fight gender based violence, and drug and substance abuse. 

What is certain however is that the trend of abuse requires a change of culture and behaviour and a more open economy that takes in young people into jobs.