Experts urge religious leaders to organise special prayers for students battling drug addiction

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Experts urge religious leaders to organise special prayers for students battling drug addiction
Students pose for a photo after the engagement.

Experts in Uganda are urging religious leaders to organize special prayers and support programs for students struggling with drug addiction, as the issue becomes increasingly prevalent among young people.

This call to action came during a symposium at Makerere University aimed at addressing the rising problem of drug abuse within the student body. The event, attended by students, university officials, and respected panellists, focused on raising awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and fostering a supportive environment for individuals battling addiction.

Winifred Kabumbuli, the Dean of Students, highlighted the detrimental impact of drug abuse on students' academic performance and overall well-being. She emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach that combines education, prevention, intervention, and support services to tackle this complex issue effectively.

"It's not just about punishment; it's about educating students, preventing drug use, and providing essential services to those who need them," she said.

Kabumbuli stressed the importance of destigmatizing substance abuse and creating a safer and healthier campus community. She outlined the negative consequences of drug use on students, including declining academic performance, missed classes, and even dropping out of school.

"Drug abuse can lead to severe health problems, addiction, and even overdose. It can also strain relationships and lead to social isolation and loneliness," she said.

Kabumbuli urged educators and leaders to acknowledge the devastating effects of drug abuse, which can hinder students' potential, derail their futures, and perpetuate cycles of poverty and despair. She emphasized the importance of supporting one another and fostering a culture of care and compassion to make a positive difference in students' lives.

Grace Kabuye, the Warden, noted that peer pressure and even depression can drive students to use drugs as a coping mechanism. "Students should seek help through counselling," she said, "and for those struggling with addiction, recovery is possible."

Kabuye called for universities to strengthen their counselling departments to better assist students facing drug abuse, which is on the rise. "Counselors should proactively reach out to students, and support systems should be established, even among student leaders, to help their peers wherever they are," she said.

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