Conducting aggressive campaigns and educating teenagers and youths is the roadmap to curbing this issue, says Lawrence Tau, acting coordinator of non-state partners from the National Youth Development Authority.
A month-long awareness against drugs and alcohol will be carried out in primary and secondary schools in the 3 electorates of Port Moresby.
The take-home message from the awareness drive is simple; drugs are harmful and dangerous; offenders either end up behind bars or become psychiatrically ill most or all of their life.
“The issue may not tip the scale yet but it certainly is a growing concern in the country,” said Tau.
Students and youths are their target audience because it is at this peak and age where they go through a transition and are highly vulnerable to peer pressure.
“According to the study of neurodevelopment, young people who take drugs before the age of 18 have 25 percent chance of becoming addicted to drugs while those who are 24 years and above stand a 5 percent increase in addiction,” revealed Tau.
According to research, the stage between adolescence and adulthood is a crucial period for brain development.
Consumption of drugs and other substances affects this process, thus impacting their academic capabilities.
Tau believes failure to address the drug abuse issue now and not giving the younger generation a sense of direction will lead them to a horrendous future.