Community pays the price as drugs take over youths


Lineo Malataliana

Khubetsoana – Khubetsoana has gained notoriety as a hub of drug abuse. The most commonly abused drugs include cocaine, methcathinone (CAT), crystal methamphetamine (meth) and marijuana.  Local residents say level of drug use by the youth in particular is said to have reached an all-time high since the hit of Covid 19 in 2020 and along with it, Khubetsoana has witnessed a surge in criminal activity which seems closely correlated to the increase in drug abuse.

Khubetsoana has become the epicenter of drug use in Maseru with the streets of Lecoop coming to life every night of teeming with young patrons ready to get their high.  This begs the question: how are they able to fund their habits when most of them are unemployed? ‘Mathabang Lekoele who stays here is a 45-year-old mother, whose 17-year-old daughter has fallen victim to the clutches of drug abuse. ‘Mathabang says she first noticed something was wrong early this year when some of her daughter’s Christmas clothes went missing.

“I had bought her a pair of Nike sneakers and labeled T-shirts. All of which mysteriously went missing without explanation,” she told Public Eye on Christmas Day. The dejected mother said prior to the disappearance of the expensive clothes she has had to deal with countless calls from school and finally an expulsion. Since then her daughter is almost always never home and whenever she shows up the rest of the family has to take extra precautions.

“I live in constant fear that one day I will be called to identify my child’s body. I do not even know what kind of drugs she is using. Just the other day a neighbor came to my door demanding money my child borrowed in my name,” she said.

‘Mathabang represents parents who have been on pins and needles over the well-being of their drug addicted children living in Khubetsoana. The festive season has only escalated the situation as the drugs have been more accessible, affordable and drug dealers are doing all they can to keep their customer base intact and to lure in more potential addicts.

The locals say they have over the years tried to get the police involved and even though raids are carried out and arrests made the problem still persists.

One resident, Tokelo Ralekhotsa said he has had to be more vigilant with the things he leaves lying around outside in his own compound.  

“Our lives here have been made very difficult. I recently awoke to find the door of my shade open with the wheelbarrow and some tools missing,” Ralekhotsa ssaid.

Like many other residents of Lecoop he said they know these drug dealers and spots but their hands are tired. They believe that these dealers have connections with the police because they are arrested and released without any conviction.

The face of drug abuse in Khubetsoana is young and fatally hopeless. Drug use has become more of a social event where the youth here commune to escape their reality while parents and the rest of the community pay the price.     

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