Nando of Big Brother Africa is one of the many young people in Tanzania who have become a statistic of the drug epidemic.
In a disturbing photo, Nando looked emaciated and a shadow of his former self. Apparently, the once lively Nando is now a drug addict.
Nando who competed in BBA: The Chase, was expelled from the contest after fighting with his fellow housemate and Ghanaian contestant, Elikem.
Nando, known for his good looks and smooth ways during the contest, making him a chic magnet, is reported to have become hooked on drugs, leaving him wretched.
The story of Nando's fall from grace to grass is one of many in the drug epidemic in Tanzania, the country he is from. The east African country has a serious drug problem specifically heroin use.
According to figures the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), almost 60 percent of 500,000 heroin users in East Africa are from Tanzania.
The country is close to the Indian Ocean which is a route for the drug trade in that part of the continent.
Heroin which entered the streets of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania in the 1990s is popularly called 'brownie' because of its brown colour. White heroin is known as 'Obama'.
According to a report on heroin use in Tanzania by Al Jazeera, the price for heroin is one of the lowest in the world making it easy for the poor and middle-income earners to afford it. Koktelin a mixture of heroin and marijuana is also quite common among drug users in the country.
The rise of heroin has also led to the increase of HIV/AIDS in the country. According to the Al Jazeera story 'Strung Out In Tanzania' "an estimated 40 percent of Tanzanians who inject drugs are HIV-positive — compared with 5 percent of the general population."
In this haze of numbers and heroin use is Nando- a once promising young man who is now lost because of the poison on the streets of Tanzania. He and countless others have been gripped by addiction. Is there any hope for him and drug users.
In Dar es Salaam there is a methadone clinic at the Muhimbili National Hospital which is the first clinic in Sub-Saharan Africa that deals with this type of drug addiction.
This is commendable because not many non-governmental organisations (NGO) give funds to treat Africans with heroin addiction. While treatment of heroin users is a struggle in almost all African countries, Tanzania is bucking the trend.
The Tanzanian Ministry of Health has a good plan to prevent and treat heroin addiction in the country.
Drug use in the continent has surged within the last decade. With the exception of Tanzania, nothing is being done to curtail the impending drug epidemic in the continent.