ZIMBABWE: Prevalence of drug abuse has become a great concern in Zimbabwe as most youths in high-density suburbs are resorting to drugs to overcome stress, seek euphoria and through peer influence among others.
Currently, crystal meth substance is on the rise in high-density streets despite its high cost.
A pinch of crystal meth powder is being sold at US$5.
It is believed that high rates of unemployment in the country has contributed to the catastrophe.
A survey conducted by Transcontinental Times shows that individuals and organisations are lobbying for actions that can help reducing drug abuse.
A man identified himself as Keith said the socio-economy need to be addressed so that unemployed youths will be always occupied.
“I feel that some socio-economic pressures need to be addressed then we find better opportunities and solutions for our ghetto youths.
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“Looking at the time before private transport was banned, many youths were into touting, of course, they were into drugs but not much as they could want to continue with work”, he said.
Years back, before COVID-19, touting was the main employer for many youths as the transport sector was centralised.
However, COVID-19 increased the government agenda to ban the operations of private transport.
This has worsened the unemployment situation in the country as many were left unoccupied.
The disaster is mainly seen practised in high-density suburbs of Mbare, Mabvuku, Tafara and Highfields among others.
This has portrayed ghetto youths to be believed to be the major drug abusers due to the suburbs they live.
Youths from low-density suburbs are major drug abusers
However, some research has shown that those from low-density suburbs are chief drug abusers.
Research conducted by Shanduko Foundation Trust, a youth development organization in 2018 shows that those who come from better families are main drug abusers as they are given pocket money to spend.
Munyaradzi Zindi Chikomba, Executive Director for Shanduko Foundation Trust said it starts at school where children were given for no specific use.
“Kids from affluent communities practice drugs not because they are desperate or not because they don’t have anything to do but they do that because they have everything materially except love and affection”.
He also highlighted the consequences of economic hardships in the country which lead parents to migrate in search of green pastures and leave children back home.
Lack of child-parent guidance
He also pointed the lack of child-parent relationship as they stay apart which lead parents to provide more money to their children in an effort to cover the gap
“Parents are always unavailable because of the work commitments and as a result, these kids end up finding refuge in other people unfortunately some of them fall prey to drug dealers and abusers.
“They have the money to buy these drugs and they are treated with respect hence making them feel loved and wanted which is something that is lacking in their lives”, he said.
However, he advised parents to manage the levels of giving money to their children as it does not alternate the parenting.
A lot of parents today, are troubled by the future of their children who are unable to think outside the glass due to drugs.
As mentioned above, Mabvuku and Tafara are among high densities with prevailing levels of crystal meth abuse.
No action is taken to alleviate drug abuse cases
Members of Mabvuku Tafara Urban stereo (MT Urban stereo) raised a concern over a significant rise in the number of young people under the age of 21 abusing psychotropic substances.
MT Urban stereo Publisher, Tatenda Wanamata said it is puzzling on how to tackle the issue as there is no action taken to alleviate the situation.
“No help is available, no rehabs, no arrest of dealers and the drug is flooding in the streets”.
“As MT Urban Stereo, we are planning to run a campaign against youth drug abuse”, he told Transcontinental Times.
Need for involvement of different stakeholders
Young Afro-jazz musician, Kundaimunashe Chikuse affectionately known as Kunkuse called for awareness campaigns as well as community and government interventions in the fight against drug abuse.
“Community involvement creating enabling environments for youth to get into activities such as sports competitions and other recreational games will eliminate a lot of idle time”.
“Government intervention for rehabilitation centres that which are professionally managed to get any addicts to get psycho-social support to enhance their cognitive awareness and redemption”, said Kunkuse.
He also called for religious sects, other institutions and youths themselves to come up with sustainable projects that can empower them economically.
Although the Zimbabwe Republic Police conducted operations against the sale of drugs in the streets and arrest some dealers, it was not enough as it still exists in the streets.
Crystal meth is believed to be dangerous than other traditional drugs.
Some local research suggests that habitual abuse of crystal meth may result in significant bladder dysfunction and renal impairment, causing frequent visits to the toilet as often as every 15 minutes.
Even a kidney transplant may not fully restore renal function.