Call for united approach against ‘Mutoriro’

By David Adin; Marsha Sengwe

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THE Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) has joined other like-minded
organisations across the province through the Ministry of Health and Child Care to fight the
use of Mutoriro in and around Bindura.
Percival Kushure, the council’s publicist, said the drug was denting the future of many youths
in and around Mashonaland Central Province.
Although the prevalence rates on the use of the drug are yet to be calculated in the province,
youths were taking the drug as if they were drinking water.
“We are planning to embark on a multi-stakeholder strategy against drug abuse in the
province. This is after realising an increase among young people starting from as early as 12
years, using the dangerous drug. Their bright future is being shattered through taking of this
dangerous drug and young girls are being pre-exposed to sexual harassment, also because of
this drug.
“We are spearheading this strategy as it brings all parties together against use of drugs in our
province.
Mutoriro has wreaked havoc with devastating consequences such as mental disposition. He
suggested drug peddlers in the province be arrested and jailed.
When people take crystal meth, regularly or in high dosages, it can cause drug-
induced psychosis.
A person who regularly uses crystal meth also has a high risk of becoming overly reliant on
the drug or developing a substance use disorder.
The drug can also lead to some physical effects and these include
anorexia, meaning a loss of appetite, blurred vision, face sores, gum disease and cracked
teeth, constipation or diarrhoea, hyperthermia, which is a high body temperature, flushing,
abnormal heart rhythm, rapid heartbeat, and palpitations.
Using the drug can lead to lowered inhibitions and behaviours that put the person in danger.
Chronic use or an overdose can lead to convulsions, stroke, and heart attack.
It can even be fatal.
People who regularly use crystal meth may develop tooth decay, cracked or broken teeth, or
gum disease.
Several factors contribute to tooth decay in people who use crystal meth;
they frequently grind and clench their teeth while high and the use of the drug tends to dry the
mouth, reducing the levels of protective saliva.
They experience a high and may crave sugary drinks.
People often neglect oral hygiene during the long lasting euphoric periods.
Crystal meth produces feelings of euphoria for up to 12 hours, and people crave its powerful
effects again and again.
However, after several uses, the same dose no longer has the same effect. A person develops
drug tolerance and needs more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
A person can develop a substance use disorder after using meth only a few times.
In time, the need for the high becomes more important than other factors in the person’s life,
while the use of the drug increasingly achieves only a break from withdrawal symptoms. If a
person tries to break the cycle, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Although the person’s blood will be free of the drug after 1–3 days without using it, the
psychological symptoms may continue for a while.

This is because crystal meth, like some other drugs, changes the person’s brain chemistry.
Moreover, a person may use meth to cope with other problems, such as depression, boredom,
or sexual dysfunction.
Some withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience include; agitation and anxiety,
severe depression, fatigue,  insomnia and psychosis.
The person will likely also experience emotional turmoil and strong cravings for some time.
These symptoms can last for days or weeks, depending on how long the individual has used
crystal meth.
Crystal meth has no medical use, and it carries a high risk for physical and psychological
dependence. Prolonged use can cause serious health issues, including gum disease and tooth
loss. It may also affect a person’s relationships, finances, and future.
Regardless of a person’s reason for using crystal meth or the length of time they have been
using it, treatment is possible. People should contact a medical doctor or specialist, who deals
with substance use disorders for support.
Crystal meth boosts the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and stops its re-uptake. As a
result, it increases the levels of dopamine in the body.
Dopamine plays an important role in motor function, motivation, reward, and how the brain
experiences and interprets pleasure.
The dopamine rush in the reward centres of the brain gives a person a sense of euphoria soon
after taking the drug.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), brain imaging studies on people
who have inappropriately used methamphetamine for a long time suggest that dopamine
system activity changes in such a way that it can seriously compromise a person’s verbal
learning and motor skills.
Crystal meth can also severely affect the brain’s structure and function. It affects areas of the
brain linked to emotion and memory, as well as structures associated with judgment. Due to
this, it may radically change behaviours and emotions.
This may explain why people who chronically use crystal meth often develop emotional and
cognitive difficulties.
Some of the changes to the brain that result from inappropriate crystal meth use remain long
after a person has stopped taking the drug. Other changes to the brain may reverse after long
periods of abstinence, but this could take a year or more.
Repeated use can have some psychological effects.
A person who regularly uses crystal meth also has a high risk of becoming overly reliant on
the drug or developing a substance use disorder.

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