Save Me : Fighting Africa’s Teenage Drug Abuse Epidemic

There is a rapid and continuous rise in drug abuse among teenagers and youths in Cameroon and the rest of Africa. One that is slowly taking away the continent's future: its teenagers. Most teenagers get their first contacts with drugs in school. Many who later become addicts either as teenagers or adults started abusing drugs in their teenage years. We have been and are still, silently, losing our teenagers and youths to this problem whose consequences are many, serious and expensive; with the ability to cost the nations its future.

The primary goal of this project is to eradicate the rapidly rising teenage-drug-abuse epidemic and the presence of drugs in school.

 

All other drug campaigns tell the youths to stay away from drugs, listing facts the teenagers often forget too soon. They also fail to provide teenagers with skills to deal with real life experiences that influence drug consumption. “Save me” was born out of the need for a better, more holistic, feasible, reproducible, sustainable and cost-effective solution. Teenagers being who they are can easily reject lectures on drug abuse and its consequences. “Save me”, passes across the much-needed education and sensitization in a fun and teenager friendly approach: through intricate stories they can easily relate to and which they can’t easily forget. The book, through its main character, Mbulle, reveals tools specially designed to equip the teenagers. Telling them what not to do doesn’t give them the ability not to do it. The ability to say no to drugs anytime and any day is gained through empowerment; in this case, using tools specifically designed to do just that. Through mass delivery of the book “Save Me”, effective implementations of the tools, early identification plus referral and treatment of addicts, we can rapidly change the tides of this epidemic, by taking the fight where the war is: Schools. The parents; teachers and the schools; teenagers; and the entire community and society as a whole have their roles to play in this big struggle.

 

There is much talk about Cameroon emerging by 2035. For this to occur, the nation needs a healthy and educated youth force. However, if the current teenage-drug-abuse epidemic is not addressed swiftly and adequately, Cameroon might end up spending most of its resources dealing with addicted youth population rather than benefitting from their labor force and innovations.

Given that treatment for drug addiction and its consequences is expensive with very high relapse rates, prevention is the key. The most cost-effective approach is the implementation of a feasible and sustainable school drug campaign that includes the teenagers, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.

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