By Jane Kisha
Trade in illicit drugs is flourishing in Kampala’s busiest suburbs unchecked.
Dealers in illicit drugs have setup their bases in areas like Kansanga, Kamwokya, Nasser Road, Bunga, Konge, Kikubo and others.
Mahesh Tucker (not real name), who is of Asian descent is one of the dealers in illicit drugs like kuber and Supari. Mahesh markets the drugs to his clients as brain and sexual boosters.
Although illegal, criminal and poses health risks to human life, Mahesh sees no big deal in these ‘gigs’ as its sales and delivery is just a phone call away to his Nigerian, Chinese and some locals.
In an undercover interview we had with Makesh at his workplace he revealed that his clients are majorly elites who work with government, local companies and corporations. He explained that the drugs help in boosting the brain and for sexual ‘prowess’.
But when asked on the side effects of Kubber he rubbished it as ‘myths’ .
Another popular drug dealer and supplier, Leon Chidiebere who entered the country two years ago with help of a fellow Nigerian called Collins, settled in Kansanga, a suburb in Kampala and set up a motor spare-part shop as cover-up sells a kuber, suparies and other drugs in tablet form to hundreds of clients who are mostly Asians living in Uganda, Nigerians, and locals.
Chidiebere deals majorly in Kuber, Supari, cordycepts tablets and other drugs that are smuggled from abroad.
Mahul Krishna (not real name) an Indian run a supermarket in Kamwokya, kampala sells a kg of supari at 70,000 UGX, a smalls sacket of kuba (5g) at UGX 10,000 among other drugs. Mahuls drugs are mostly smuggled through his goods coming to Uganda.
Vinu, an Asian who works with a solar company, walks around with a pocket full of kuber and supari, that he chews non-stop. He shares some with his colleagues and driver Mahul. Mahul who seems to be addicted uses his network of friends to sell the product.
While talking to Dr. Jovan Katende, an health expert in Kampala, drugs like Supari and Kubar are deadly “turn on”, causing mental circutes and brain diseases. Dr. Katende said drugs give one a “tingling” pleasure and the more he or she uses the more the person crave. This he said lead to often compulsive use and addiction.
Dr. Katende added that addicted person’s brain changes and despite of the negative consequences, one can never chose to quit unless put to a therapy, treatment and others supports before too late.
Children Exposed to Drugs
Hellen Kisakye, a mother of four and a food vendor on the streets of kamwokya laments the openness under which Kubar and Supari are traded on the streets, shops and neighborhood of kampala. She said this familiarize and expose Kids like hers (who help her vend fruits on streets) to greater risk of engaging in drug abuse themselves.
” I freeze when i hear some teenagers, my son’s age boast of these drugs boosting his brain, anxiety and manhood” she narrated.
This in human health is believed to damage brains and set them up for later drug problems in their adulthoods.
Health experts believe drug addiction is a complex brain disease that scientists are still figuring out. They say one person may use a drug once or many times and nothing bad happens but this shouldn’t necessary give confidence that one is safe. ” Most first time users overdose drugs thinking first attempt is effective yet safe. Whether on a regular use or once, chances of addiction still stands high” Dr. Chris Egaru of Kirombe Family clinic elaborates. Egaru said that there is no way of knowing in advance how a person may react to these dangerous substances and restraining from drugs are best ways
World Health Organization’s take on Drugs
In 2004, the Internation Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization (WHO) classified areca-nut (supari) as carcinogenic to humans. For hundreds of millions of people around the world, chewng supari produces a cheap, quick high but also raises the risk of addiction and oral cancer. Prolonged use can create addiction hence WHO classifies it as carcinogen.
Today, the WHO estimates that around 600,000,000 people use some betel-nut (supari) as one of the most popular psycho-active substances in the world, in fourth place after nicotine, alcohol and caffeins.
Types of Suparies
There are two varieties of suparies, one is a white variety and the other is red variety.
Effects on human health
– Supari causes stimulant effects similar to caffeine and tobacco use.
– It can cause more severe effects including vomiting, diarrhea, gum problems, increased rapid breathing, heart attack and coma.
-It also causes saliva, chest pain, abnormal heart beats, low blood pressure, shortness of breath and death.