Home Features Wellness “Idle and frustrated Youths” Drugs and substance abuse getting out of hand.

“Idle and frustrated Youths” Drugs and substance abuse getting out of hand.

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Drug Abuse in Zimbabwe
Drug Abuse In Zimbabwe

Jesse Ncube

Decades ago, the topic of drug abuse was unthinkable and unimaginable in Zimbabwe. Today, the train has arrived and what is more scary and heart-breaking are the ages of substance users and the types of drugs being abused. The masses of unemployed idle and frustrated youths  lingering around in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo is worrisome, yet current difficulties in the country are pushing more young people into drug abuse.

Children, as young as eleven are taking to drugs in Harare’s high density and affluent suburbs. With cannabis and crystal meth being the most used substances.

More Zimbabwean youths are turning to lethal drugs like cocaine, heroin, ephedrine and crystal methamphetamine “crystal meth“, whose street name is mutoriro, to escape and forget economic and social pressures.

The youths use these drugs and alcohol as a remedy to numb stress from various socioeconomic struggles. The question is; will it continue to grow and go further than this?. There is no prize for guessing the correct answer; yes, the problem will continue to grow, as long as youth unemployment remains.

This year Ingutsheni Central Hospital Chief Executive Nemache Mawere revealed that the institution, which is the largest mental health referral institution in Zimbabwe, registered an increase in admissions of people who were “suffering from mental health issues related to drug abuse.” The situation is now catastrophic. A tragedy continues to unfold as the numbers of substance and abuse spike.

Serious conversations about drug and alcohol abuse are needed. Families across the social divide are battling the scourge. The emotional toll on family members is huge and devastating. With very few  rehabilitation centers in site, many substance abusers have nowhere to turn for help. Family members watch helplessly as their loved ones self-destruct.

A whole generation is going down the drain because of failure to come up with robust strategies to reduce drug abuse. Not only is drug abuse affecting youths, but also older people in their forties and fifties, facing an increased risk of death through suicide, homicide, accident and illness.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report titled World Drug Report 2020: Global drug use rising; rising unemployment and reduced opportunities make the poorest more vulnerable to drug abuse.

Once drug abuse turns into an addiction, it becomes very difficult to shake off. Scientific fact: Any person that takes the drug route is highly likely to get lost in using unless the society stands up and initiates rehabilitation programs.

Drug abuse is the new pandemic in Zimbabwe, and more needs to be done to contain it. This is one conversation we are not ready to have, but the earlier the scourge is addressed, the more chance we stand of saving an entire generation.

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