Alcohol and drug abuse
It is a problem that affects the young and active, increases poverty, violence in homes and community thus increasing insecurity, crime, school drop out and so a circle of low income earners. There is little knowledge and implementation of laws concerning alcohol and drugs in rural areas, for instance-breath-risers or kawunyemu are in Kampala and urban areas but not rural areas. When youth get affected by alcohol and drugs in towns they are sent to rural areas where there is no care or cure, or condemned to prison or death.
Alcohol and Drug abuse affect women and female youth most because are a source of insecurity for property and lives, domestic violence, family breakups, rape, defilement, early marriages, early pregnancies.
There are increased number of places/bars that sell cheap and most likely dangerous alcohol and drugs to ones’ health. They provide hiding places for drug users in addition to the swampy isolated places.
The poor get poorer because of stereotypes that they have to take drugs because of heavy work load, the most at risk groups are quarry , market , and boda boda/transport workers who through heavy work earn little which is targeted by bar owners leading to cycle of poverty and marginalization. Male youth then pose a threat to female youth –rape, defilement, early pregnancies, unsafe abortion, broken homes, abandoned children and young unskilled mothers, entry into exploitative labour market and sex work.
There is an increased number of females employed in drinking places where they are abused, sexually harassed and are initiated into drug abuse practices. They do not live in dignity, they are stigmised because of what they do.
Increase in rural urban migration, poor living conditions and denied rights and dignity.
Criminalizing of drug use, and scanty knowledge of existing laws cause problems for a community that condemns users as criminals fit for prison and at worst death, instead of considering the health implications of alcohol and drug abuse. Low economic status of rural communities makes them vulnerable to drugs and alcohol partly due to poor dietary and housing practices . Women and children in such households suffer violence, and sexual gender based violence.
There are various drivers that increase alcohol and drug abuse-for instance musicians who are popular because of using drugs, are role models for the youth.
Ruth Fund’s target for action - Government on laws and policies affecting alcohol and drug use and the outcome challenges; Individuals in community to know effects of alcohol and drug abuse; health workers to sensitise communities on and advice on treatment of alcohol and drug related health issues; Local councils to enact by-laws on use of alcohol –opening and closing of bars, in order to reduce crime, theft; Work with police to agree on how to deal with community and alcohol and drug abusers , how to curb corruption that encourages the habits; reach out to schools to raise awareness; work with female bar owners and female bar attendants to raise awareness on women’s rights , in particular, social- economic rights and women empowerment.