The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Drug abuse menace affecting mindsets

- Mutsawashe Mashandure Herald Correspond­ent Read more on www.herald.

DRUG and substance abuse should be tamed, as it is affecting the mind-set of the youth, director in the Ministry of Youth Empowermen­t, Developmen­t and Vocational Training, Blazio Monobo, has said.

Speaking during a drug reduction workshop, Mr Manobo said the ministry had come up with a drug and substance reduction strategy that can contribute to the attainment of an upper middle-income society by the year 2030.

“We recognise that young people are a critical resource both as participan­ts and beneficiar­ies in maintainin­g peace and the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.

To implement this strategy, the ministry started national research in May on the state of drug and substance use in Zimbabwe.

“We found out that the prevalence of drug abuse is at 37 percent, or 1 in every four people is taking drugs among young people below the age of 35. The most commonly abused drugs and substances are marijuana and alcohol,” he said.

Urban men were the main users. “We used to think that due to poverty, people in rural areas were the only ones taking drugs, but surprising­ly, there is a higher rate of drug addicts in urban areas than in rural areas,” he added.

The director said economic factors, such as financial stability, peer pressure and research for excitement were the major causes of young people taking drugs.

“I have noticed that youth are unemployed, due to that, start having stress, and as a result, they go into bases where they take locally available drugs such as Broncleer cough syrup, marijuana (mbanje), crystal methamphet­amine (mutoriro/dombo/guka), and jelly substances from diapers, which are taken by many young adults,” he said.

In addition, people were selling drugs as a source of income.

Speaking at the same event, project coordinato­r from Silveira House Aloes Madhekeni said after the research, he noticed that a lot of young people were using mbanje suggested that the suppliers were sued for damages as well as facing criminal charges. “We have to come up with a reduction strategy that is going to deal with or mitigate the use of mbanje. This unpreceden­ted level of drug and substance abuse is alarming and is a potent threat to national security, requiring a holistic multi-sectoral approach in order to contain this tide,” he said.

Dr Samson Mhizha from the University of Zimbabwe suggested that social expectatio­ns of young men finishing secondary school as well as unemployme­nt and health issues such as HIV/AIDS were factors contributi­ng to addiction.

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