Drugs and Their Dangers in Papua New Guinea by Philip Kai Morre, Simbu Writer’s Association, 2015, 142 pp, ISBN: 978-1519479792. Available from Amazon books for US$4.49 plus postage (Kindle US$1.00).
DRUG and alcohol abuse in Papua New Guinea is a huge problem. From that abuse stems so many other issues that are endemic in the nation.
These include out-of-control law and order, the abuse of women and children, serious medical problems like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and a raft of socio-economic problems.
At the other end of the spectrum there seems to be little inclination to understand what causes people to abuse these substances in the first place - and even less inclination on the part of the government to do anything about it.
At best the government adopts a crude knee-jerk reaction by coming down heavily on the victims. At worst it does absolutely nothing at all.
The health system in Papua New Guinea is poorly resourced, short staffed and under enormous stress. It is too busy trying to get basic health care to people and hasn’t time or money to effectively analyse problems like drug and alcohol abuse.
This is why none of the hospitals in Papua New Guinea have drug rehabilitation clinics.
Here and there, however, some provinces, with the support of a few dedicated souls, are attempting to tackle the problem.
Philip is one of a dedicated band of people who care about what is happening in their society and are trying to do something about it.
He is a drug educator and addiction counsellor of many years’ experience who is Kundiawa-born. He studied theology, philosophy and anthropology at the Holy Spirit Seminary at Bomana outside Port Moresby and is the founder of the Simbu rehab centre.
We occasionally learn about these lone crusaders valiantly trying to improve the lot of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen despite all the odds stacked against them.
They are an inspiration in a country where people seldom think much beyond their immediate family and clan.
Philip has a team of low paid and voluntary helpers who are helping the druggies and alcoholics without penalising them. They are also trying to spread the message about the dangers of drug abuse and alcohol.
It is towards this aim that Philip has written a manual about drugs and alcohol and their inherent dangers. It is seen as another tool in getting out the message and hopefully doing something about the problem.
With few resources of his own, and being a member of the Simbu Writer’s Association, Philip approached SWA for help.
Through the good graces of editor Francis Nii and a number of other people with expertise, Philip’s book, Drugs and Their Dangers in Papua New Guinea, has been produced as a special SWA initiative.
It is a simple guide to the identification of drugs, their effects and the possibilities for their treatment, as well as being a technical manual for reference by people engaged as drug counsellors or in responsible positions, such as teachers and church leaders, likely to be exposed to the problem.
It is hoped that the book can be distributed widely in Simbu Province, especially to schools, and more widely into greater Papua New Guinea.
If you would like to help with this worthwhile cause by donating funds for its distribution I’m sure Philip, through Francis Nii and the SWA, would be happy to hear from you.