Over half Zim youths taking drugs – official

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Harare (New Ziana)- At least 57.1 percent of the country’s youths are taking illicit drugs and substances, a senior government official said on Friday.

Zimbabwe is experiencing an upsurge in drug abuse cases and most of those abusing the drugs are young people.

The youths are turning to hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.

Speaking at the National Consultative and engagement meeting on youth, peace and security in Zimbabwe, secretary for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Dr Thokozile Chitepo bemoaned the high prevalence of drug and substance abuse among young people saying it threatens the existence of the country’s future generation.

“The drug and substance abuse menace has ravished our society, threatening to gnaw away the base of our nation, the wellbeing of our youth, and to undermine efforts towards the realization of positive peace in Zimbabwe. Some studies have indicated that the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among youths in Zimbabwe stands at 57.1 percent,” she said.

As an intervention measure, the government set up an inter-ministerial committee tasked to raise awareness around drug and substance abuse as well as proffering solutions such as rehabilitation of victims of drug use.

Chitepo said her Ministry was part of an inter ministerial Committee that is carrying out extensive anti-drug and substance abuse awareness campaigns in all the ten provinces of the country as a mitigatory measure.

Addressing National Youth Day commemorations recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared 2022 as the year of eradicating drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe and warned drug cartels that the net was fast closing in on them as the war against illegal substances has been intensified.

“2022 must see our nation eliminate drug and substance abuse. I thus encourage the youth to use platforms such as the national clean-up day which is held every first Friday of the month to share information towards fighting drugs and substance abuse,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said several strategies, at government and local level, had been lined up to achieve the eradication of drug and substance abuse including reviewing the national drugs Act, to bring it in line with current developments.

A national drug abuse fund was also established through the 2022 national budget to cater for the creation of drug rehabilitation centres and programmes.

Drug and illegal substance use has grown in Zimbabwe, with the youth mostly in poor communities falling prey to the scourge.

Highly addictive drugs such as crystal meth commonly referred to in Shona as Guka, and cocaine have become widely available in most high density suburbs.

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