Tongan youth lack awareness of the dangers of meth

NUKU’ALOFA, 15 DECEMBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – Local youth leader in Tonga is driving a campaign to educate and inform young people about the dangers of methamphetamine.

Elizabeth Kite is head of the NGO, Tonga Youth Leaders, and Pacific representative on the Commonwealth Youth Council.

Kite acknowledges use of the illegal drug is a problem among youth and says it is one community leaders are taking seriously.

Her comments follow an appeal by a women and children’s advocate for the country’s leaders to meet and discuss the growing problem.

She said her organisation has gone out into the villages and met with drug dealers, consumers and other youth to discuss the matter.

“A lot of young people are actually going into drugs without really realising what ice specifically does, what the consequences are,” Kite said.

“That’s why you are seeing a lot of youth leaders going out into communities and schools and groups and churches, to just talanoa. To just have a chat and tell them about what the drug is, what the consequences are, how you can avoid the situation if you feel involved.”

Kite said unemployment is one of the most common reasons cited for drug abuse but she said it should not be used as an excuse.

She said there are more positive things youth can get involved in.

“Every young Tongan has access to land and so utilising something like that is such a privlege. There have been two agricultural project promoting more youth involvement and I think that’s one way to help young people realise that there is always something to do in Tonga. You don’t have to turn to drugs.” said Elizabeth Kite.

Kite also said Tongans needed to return to traditional and Christian values.

 

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