The last of a series of “What’s Your Role” articles that ran through this month looks at the role of the nation in preventing youth substance use.
A nation is made up of the population of its people and if part of the population is not well the whole nation gets affected.
Of concern to us all is that substance use by our young people contributes to:
- Overall damage to the developing bodies and organs of youth, such as the brain, liver, heart, pancreas and others, ending in general ill health and mental disturbances.
- Financial hardships for families that have to take care of the sick family members.
- Some family conflicts arising from the inability to handle the situations that we find our children in.
- A bleak future for our country’s leadership as our young people’s abuse of substances diminishes their ability to reach their full potential.
- Substance use related crime,
- Substance use related accidents and deaths.
As a nation of Botswana, we need to work collectively to change norms regarding substance use by reflecting on and adjusting how we have normalized the use of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, and watch our youth indulge in use of illegal drugs.
As community members of this nation of Botswana, we are responsible for looking out for youth and guide them in the right direction.
In the past, every member of a community was a parent to every child within a community.
We should remember that turning a blind eye to the endangerment and exposure of even legal substances to youth makes us an irresponsible nation.
If you, as a community member, see these things going on, stand up and address the issue – remember that the law is behind you and that it is the right thing to do.
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