Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jun 2005
Source: Post, The (Zambia)
Copyright: Post Newspapers 2005
Author: Nomusa Michelo
Bookmark: (Youth)


LUSAKA - We take drugs to keep away the cold, 13-year-old street child Susan
has said.

Susan who lives along Lusaka's Nkwazi Road said drugs were the only
solution to the hardship she and her colleagues who live on the street

She narrates that she came to Lusaka from Kitwe after the death of her
parents three years ago.

"I ran away from home where I lived with my grandmother in Kitwe three
years ago to come to Lusaka with my friends, but I want to go back
now," she said.

Susan who was reeking of petrol during the interview, narrates
restlessly that she and other girls go through a lot of hardships and
are constantly faced with sexual and physical abuse.

"Its very cold at night so we sniff petrol so that we can stay warm,"
she said.

"We suffer a lot here, sometimes men come to pick us up and we usually
get sick. Living on the streets is very difficult. I would like to go
back to school."

Asked if she was aware of the dangers of substance abuse, Susan said
she was aware but would continue to sniff glue because it kept her
warm at night.

And in his message to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse
and Illicit Trafficking, which falls today under the theme Value
yourself, make healthy choices, United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan said drugs are more than tickets to a dead end.

He said treatment from drug abuse was the only way out for people
addicted to drugs.

"These drugs might have names that sound colourful or enticing, such
as crack, pot, junk, crystal meth, and disco biscuits. But these are
little more than tickets to a dead end," he declared.

"For those trapped by addiction, treatment is a way out, and the
choice to seek treatment is not only courageous, but often
life-saving," he added.

He urged people who have not ventured down the path of drug abuse to
learn a lesson from those who had and firmly choose not to.

"Making healthy choices also means choosing a lifestyle that has a
positive effect on the body and mind, including, for example,
participation in sports to improve health and well-being, teach the
value of teamwork and discipline, and build self-confidence," stressed
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