Increase of illegal drug consumers in Burundian urban areas

In a press briefing held on July 8th, the Ministry of Health and FENAS revealed that the number of illegal drug consumers in the country has mainly increased in Bujumbura and Gitega. They call on everyone to take action so as to eradicate drugs in Burundi

Albert Mbonerane says traffic and drug abuse is among the causes of mortality

“Drug consumption is more excessive in urban areas than elsewhere,” says Albert Mbonerane, Chairman of the National Federation of Non-State Actors involved in Health Sector (FENAS). Drug is a reality in Burundi and its consumption is widespread throughout the country, he adds.
Mr. Mbonerane says drug consumption impacts on the social, economic and health domains.
“Traffic and drug abuse is among the causes of mortality and morbidity,” says Mr. Mbonerane adding that taking drugs is one of the causes of HIV and hepatitis C and therefore poses a major public health problem.

He says the urban areas, mainly Bujumbura and Gitega cities are the priority for advocacy activities against drugs. He appreciates the efforts by the government in the process of fighting against drugs. However, “the way is still long considering the effects of drug consumption,” says Mr. Mbonerane.
“The government is already engaged in the fight against drug consumption,” says Josélyne Nsanzerugeze, assistant to the Minister of Health and AIDS Prevention. Taking drugs has become the major problem to public health, she adds.

Mrs. Nsanzerugeze says drug consumers should be considered “not as guilty but as patients who need help, humanity and care”.

“Most of hemp farms are found in the forests located in Imbo region mainly from Nyanza-Lac to Bubanza and in the Kibira forest,” says Diogène Minani, a police officer who intervened during the conference adding that the police destroy all drug farms in the country.

31 million of people who use drugs suffer from disorders, meaning that drug use is so harmful to their health that they may need treatment according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Globally, 11 million people injected drugs in 2017, of whom 1.4 million live with HIV and 5.6 million with hepatitis C. In Burundi, the number of drug consumers is not known. They are mainly young people aged between 15 and 30.