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    "Save Me: Fighting Africa's Teenage-drug-abuse Epidemic." A novel by Dr. Metuge Alain.


    Dr. Metuge Alain is a young Cameroonian who is actively advocating against Drug abuse in Cameroonian teenagers.

    He had a chit-chat with betatinz.com and this is what he shared with us.

    Tell us how you grew up and your childhood influences that may have contributed to your current advocacy against drugs in Cameroon.

    I was born in  Tombel, but I grew up in Yoke, Muyuka and later on Yaoundé.
    While in Yoke, We leaved very close to the market, which was an official marijuana smoking spot. We dared not walk by slowly when the street thugs were having their marijuana feasts. I had witnessed multiple raids carried out by the forces of law and order in an attempt to locate and
    apprehend distributors. Back then, it was almost inconceivable for a teenager to be a part of such gatherings. Seeing our teenagers dying from drug abuse today breaks my heart. They are the victims, and they deserve to be saved.


    How did your Advocacy start?

    My advocacy against drug abuse started shortly after my graduation as an MD from the Faculty of Health Sciences University of Buea. A senior colleague first told me of cases of tramadol addiction amongst some secondary school students he had come across. Then a few friends told me of youths who have been rushed into the emergency units of their hospitals following overdose of one drug or the other. I later on came across a few cases myself. Putting it all together it became clear to me we had a real problem on our hands.

    What led you to write a book?

    After learning of how rampant teenage-drug-abuse was, I decided to do more research on the subject. I looked at studies that described the most likely influences that push teenagers to drug abuse, and what our society has been doing so far. All researchers on the subject agree that most teenagers get introduced to drugs in school, most are influenced by innocent curiosities and peer pressure.

    When I studied to find out the effects of drug abuse on teenagers, I discovered that, if
    something wasn’t done and done quick, our teenagers, who are the future of tomorrow will be lost and with them the future of our society. I therefore started brainstorming on the possible way out to deal with the problem. I also realized that, antidrug education and sensitization campaigns that told the teenagers to stop taking drugs, listing a few facts to them weren’t effective and could not provide a permanent solution. Teenagers can easily get bored by facts and lectures, thus burying all the lessons the teenagers need in interesting stories they can relate to and which
    they can’t easily forget seemed to be the best instrument for continuous education and
    sensitization.

    Also, it occurred to me that even when given all the fact and education, if the teenagers are not empowered with the absolute ability to deal with peer pressure and to tap into their own self confidence, the problem would persist.

    This made me develop a set of tools which
    teenagers can use in real life situations to be able to say no to drugs anytime any day. That’s how I ended up writing this novel.

    Summary of the book;

    "SAVE ME" is basically the cry of the African teenager, who today faces the deadly threat of
    teenage-drug-abuse and addiction, not just in the streets, but even more so in schools. The novel, through intricate stories, reveals drugs for what they truly are: Life smashing chemicals.

    The book doesn't just talk about the problem, but through the novel's main character, Mbulle, we see the way out of this dreadful plague that seeks to destroy the future of our society: our teenagers.

    What is the Most touching story about drug abuse in teenagers in Cameroon: 

    The story of a young student who lost his life to tramadol overdose because he was trying to prove to his friends how strong and courageous he was.

    Who is you target audience for the book?

    While the solution presented in the book is targeted to teenagers and youths, the
    book itself is for the general population. For the eradication of teenage-drug-abuse and drugs in schools, every facet of the general population needs to play its part. Since people cannot pass across information or knowledge they don’t have, it is necessary that parents, teachers and the rest of the general population gain the knowledge and skills they need to play their role in this fight.

    What are the Goals you intend to meet through the publication of this book:

    Provide a holistic, feasible, reproducible, cost effective and sustainable solution to the
    teenage-drug-abuse epidemic plaguing Cameroon and the rest of Africa.

    So far the book is written, published and available for consumption. A project was written based on the book and submitted for the WHO Africa health innovation challenge.
     The book is just one key element in the campaign against teenage drug abuse. We need to take the solution to schools, truly educate, sensitize and empower the youths against drug abuse. Then set up a system for assessment and continuity of the process for the other students to come.

    How can the public can support this fight?

    -Get a copy of the book for yourself, children or siblings.
    -Get to be part of the big solution by gaining the appropriate knowledge and skill.
    -Donate books to schools.
    -Start your own campaign, seek funders who can pay for copies of the books to be
    given for free and the entire campaign introduced and implemented in a school or
    more.

    What do you want the public to know about drug abuse in Cameroon:

    Drug abuse is a daily reality, and unfortunately schools have become the initiation, sales and
    consumption grounds. And our teenagers, who are the future of our society, are the primary
    victims. The management of drug addiction is both complex and expensive. The only true cure to this disease is prevention. And we can effectively prevent teenage drug abuse, while
    rehabilitating those teenagers and youths who are already dependent on drugs.

    To contact Dr Metuge to get a copy of the book, or join the advocacy against Drug Abuse in Cameroonian teenagers, email: dr.ma51@yahoo.com

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