Erongo Governor, Neville Andre Itope, has expressed concern about the increasing and easy accessibility of drugs in the region, specifically concerning school children who are now being used as drug mules.
According to Itope, the instant availability of drugs in communities, school yards and playgrounds, requires strengthened efforts to bring an end to as it is contributing majorly to crimes perpetuated mainly by young people.
The governor was speaking at the launch of the Coastal Drug Awareness Campaign (CODAC) Anonymous Helpline at Duneside High School in Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
CODAC is a drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse awareness campaign spearheaded by offenders, ex-offenders and officers from the Walvis Bay Correctional Facility.
The helpline was launched to help drug addicts speak to and seek assistance from trained counsellors, anonymously.
“Given the enormity of substance abuse in our region, the most effective tool to combat drug abuse is to strengthen prevention programmes because prevention is the only cure. Furthermore, we need to ensure that we develop effective treatment centres and we need to, as a matter of urgency, make sure that our treatment programmes are effective to help those who are already in the cycle of drug abuse,” the governor stressed.
He further emphasised that government’s highest priority is to work with all concerned stakeholders to prevent drug abuse and the harm it can cause to families and society in general.
Walvis Bay Deputy Mayor, Sara Mutondoka, said the idea of creating a platform for drug users to seek counselling anonymously is tremendous as it ensures that they can do so without fear of being victimised or judged.
“In a world where mental health concerns and the devastating impacts of suicide are on the rise, there is a need for service like CODAC. Hence, it is crucial that avenues where anyone seeking help can do so without worry of their personal information being compromised,” she noted.
The programme will be rolled out in more schools at Walvis Bay.
Source: The Namibia Press Agency