Health & Community

Drug Abuse: Its Time To Take Action 

Munashe Dube (center), 22, smokes a cigarette he dipped in adhesive thinners while his friends Tinashe Katewe, 15, and Thembinkosi Siziba, 23, wait their turn to smoke in Bulawayo’s City Centre.
By Staff Reporter 
Drug and substance abuse in urban areas continues to be on the rise especially amongst  youths. 
Despite the rampant cases of drug and substance abuse little is  being done in terms of interventions to reduce it.
For many unemployed youths, it is a way to forget the harsh realities of life.
However, addiction leads to health problems, including mental disorders.
Reports show that 57 percent of admissions to psychiatric institutions are attributed to substance abuse.
“Of these admissions, over 80 percent are in the age group 16 to 40,” said Evans Masitara, a psychiatrist in private practice. “It is mostly boys who are affected.
Andrew Muchineripi a medical doctor said young alcoholics had  become common victims of dementia, seizures, liver disease and early death.
He added that cases of drug-induced psychosis had been reported.
Psychologist Edgar Mutambu said people who abused alcohol and drugs, tend to be driven by poverty and hopelessness.
“Millions of Zimbabweans are jobless and therefore stressed,” he said.
“They struggle to cope with life’s daily challenges.” 
Lovemore Kamoto is one of the youths who resorted to taking drugs to avoid the stress of being unemployed.
“I completed my university education, but I never found work,” he said.
“I continue to live with my parents. This is embarrassing because I still depend on them for everything. 
“Alcohol and drugs help us to forget our challenges.  It does not cost much money to get intoxicated.
“Even for one dollar you can get drunk fast.”
Reports indicate some of the drugs taken in by youths included Codeine, Broncleer, cannabis, maragada, musombodhiya, tegu-tegu and zed.
Peer pressure, breakdown of the family support system, limited knowledge about the effects of drug abuse and stress were identified as the major factors that drive substance and drug abuse among youths.
AFM pastor Oliver Chirandu said in order to avoid the abuse of drugs there was need to regulate the sale of drugs such as Broncleer that could easily abused.
‘Communities should also provide guidance and counselling programmes,” he said.” “Further, the value of recreation and exercise should never be underestimated; this means recreation and exercise help to keep teenagers and youths occupied”
Robert Tapfumaneyi