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Youth Leader: Drug abuse rampant in Juba City

Author: Donna Imanya | Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Emmanuel Lobijo, the Executive Director of Junub Open Space during Zone 72 show, a youth radio show on Eye Radio on June 29 June 2024 - Moses Awan/Eye Radio

A youth-led civil society organization disclosed that drug abuse is widespread among young people in Juba City.

During a youth radio show on Eye Radio, Emmanuel Lobijo, the Executive Director of Junub Open Space, appealed to drug addicts to abandon the use of drugs.

According to Emmanuel, Junub Open Space (JOS) is a community-based educational organization located in Juba, and dedicated to fostering peace, empowerment, and innovation among the
youth of South Sudan, particularly in the Juba region.

Emmanuel shared his struggles of being pressured to join gang groups as a young person in the community.

“Back in 2006 and 2007, cocaine was mostly used in Kator area. The plant one is usually growing randomly they call it ‘Makerere’ that slang young people use those days,” Emmanuel said.

“It was one of the most consumed ones by young people around 2006, and in 2007 areas like Kator, Buluk, and Hai Game used to have a lot of it,” he said.

“Currently, the most used drug is of course people know Bangi (Marijuana) is being used a lot by young people, and when it comes to things like Nicotine, Tramadol young people overdose themselves with it.

“I think the most used one is Telich (Ice),” he added.

He stated that it was almost required to be associated with one of the groups, leading him to experiment with various substances.

Emmanuel has since transformed his life. He also highlighted that the youth groups he interacted with back then, consisting of approximately 120 members, were structured and non-violent compared to the aggressive gang groups prevalent in Juba today.

He recalled that in 2006 and 2007, raw cocaine, locally known as Makerere, was commonly used in areas like Kator, Buluk, and Hai Game.

Emmanuel recounted an alarming incident where he witnessed a young boy silently purchase tramadol from a pharmacy, emphasizing the ease of access to such drugs.

He says the current common drugs are marijuana (Bangi), nicotine, and tramadol, with young people dangerously overdosing on them.

According to Emmanuel, some measures the government took to combat its use, included cutting down the plants.

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