OPINION | Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital this week revealed that more than 90 per cent of those admitted to its alcohol and drug unit are mainly youth of university going age.
Dr David Basangwa, the hospital executive director, told Journalists during the Health Ministry monthly media breakfast in Kampala on Monday that the hospital receives 20 new mental patients daily compared to between 10 and 15 previously.
He attributed the increase in the number of mental patients majorly to alcohol and substance abuse.
Unlike before, Uganda’s gospel music industry today has a larger share of young and talented artists who at one point in life were deeply involved in drug/substance abuse.
Gospel music can orient high-school and university students, in particular, to a source for information or answers to myriad of problems they encounter. Dedicating to Jesus Christ can be guiding principles for behavior and opportunities for pro-social interaction.
Biblically, it is explicitly prohibited to use illicit drug or substances. In particular, bible poses a rhetorical question that: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are”.
For over 15 years gospel music producer, singer and songwriter D.Reign experienced the cravings and emotional struggles that only a drug addict can understand. When he was introduced to the habit upon joining secondary school, nothing could keep him away from drugs.
“As a young man, I was so desperate for fame and recognition among my peers. Using these drugs gave us temporary pleasures on top of generating confidence,”
Now delivered, and a proud member of Teen Challenge Uganda, it is clear to the singer that without a dramatic change in life, it is only a matter of time until those still battling the same substances suffer the fate that comes with the addiction.
D.Reign aside, Zabuli who was announced gospel artist of the year at the recent VIGA Awards, made mends with God after a long battle with drugs.
“One wrong led to the next one. Next thing I knew, I was pregnant. As if that was not enough, we went for an abortion. I did this, and I’m not proud. My stupid decision cost a child’s death. And I know God forgave me. Some people are afraid of such storied because they think they will be rejected. But out of that brokenness, I met a man called Jesus,”
Other popular Christian figures in the music industry who have broken free from drug addictions include Shadrack Kuteesa, Robinsan, Levixone, Exodus, a former street child and many more.
When high school and university students are God-fearing, God-dependent and God-loving, they are less likely to involve in dubious activities that would affect their future.
When they listen to testimonies from artists such as these and engage in activities, such as prayers, fellowships, there’re high chances of becoming resourceful citizens in society.
By Paul W Dennis.