A wide range of non-governmental organizations are involved in the prevention and reduction of drug abuse in the Rwanda. The numerous activities and substantive achievements of non-governmental organizations in combating the problems of drug abuse are manifestations of their commitment to and involvement in an avowed partnership with the Government to promote care for young people and quality of life in general. The Dangerous Drugs Board, the Government's policy-making and coordinating body, has facilitated and encouraged the development of existing approaches and strategies and, in co-operation with non-governmental organizations, has made drug-abuse prevention programmes more viable and relevant. This co-operation strengthened agency relationships, encouraged resource-sharing and generated a more balanced approach towards programme planning and implementation. The various government services, in co-operation with non-governmental organizations, have adopted the models and strategies that are action-oriented activities, primarily intended to promote positive values, attitudes, self-development, creative productivity and skills of young people.
MAGNITUDE OF DRUG ABUSE IN RWANDA
Making a reference to a study conducted by the Ministry of Youth and ICT, in collaboration with Kigali Health Institute in 2012, it shows that 52.5 per cent of the youth aged between 14 and 35 years old had consumed one or more substances at least once in their lifetime.
It also showed that due to regular substance or drug abuse, one young man or woman out of thirteen (7.46 per cent) was alcohol dependent, one young man or woman out of twenty (4.88 per cent) suffered from nicotine dependence and one young man or woman out of forty (2.54 per cent) was cannabis dependent.
If you look at data from Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital, drug abuse is not to be taken lightly.
The hospital has experienced rising number of patients with alcohol and drug-induced mental illness over the years.
Figures from the hospital show that in 2009, only 440 (patients with alcohol and drug induced illnesses) made consultation, compared to the 2804 who made consultation in 2016.
Rwanda National Police says narcotic drug trafficking and abuse is still a priority in their daily patrolling activities.
The crime is ranked among the top five and is considered as high impact crime like human trafficking, corruption, public funds embezzlement and gender-based violence.
Information from Police shows that in 2016, 3,559 cases of drug abuse and trafficking were registered. However, according to Theos Badege, the Police spokesperson, the trend is likely to decrease this year thanks to combined efforts of the general public, and many other stakeholders.
From the beginning of this year up to May, 1,032 cases have been registered indicating a fair decrease in the crime.
The age group which is mostly involved in drug abuse, according to Police, is that of between 18 and 30 years (constituting 71.66 per cent), followed by those above 30 years (27.22 per cent). Those below 18 years only constitute 1.1 per cent.