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Drug Consumption Soaring Among Youths 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr — In recent years, Cameroon has been attracting increasing attention as a drug trafficking, transit and production base.  Arrests of airlines passengers attempting to smuggle cocaine, heroin and marijuana in or out of the country have been swelling steadily.

But observers say the phenomenon is taking a disturbing twist among the country’s youth.  Recently, gangs of marijuana vendors and consumers have been dismantled and offenders arrested at various educational establishments in the capital Yaoundé, the largest city Douala and other major urban centers.

In fact various surveys indicate the country’s secondary, high schools and institutions of higher learning are fast becoming beehives for drug dealers and consumers.  According to the National Committee for the Fight against Drugs, 60 percent of addicts across Cameroon are aged 20, and 15 percent are less than 20 years old.

Related surveys conducted in the past reveal a steadily rising trend.  Critics have been heaping blame on slacked controls by school officials and parents, as well as negative influences from television, cinema and the internet. 

And so progressively, the personal development of the country’s future leaders is being destroyed. More and more girls and boys at tender ages are chain smokers and alcohol consumers, college playgrounds and backyards have been transformed into marijuana joints, while a soaring number of street kids are sniffing gum.     

Experts say the consequences are numerous and multiform.  Campuses are becoming battlegrounds for drug gangs, short-notice feats of violence as witnessed during the ongoing university games in Buea are recurrent, cases of rape are on the rise while educational performance is generally tumbling.

Observers say there is the urgent need for the government to set up an emergency action plan to curb the blazing phenomenon.

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