45% of Youths in Harare’s Ushewokunze surburb are taking drugs




By Florence Zirima


HARARE – Youth Against Drug and Substance Abuse Zimbabwe (YADSAZ) is leaving no stone unturned in educating young people on the dangers of abusing drugs. In a recent clean up campaign spearheaded by YADSAZ which was held in Ushewokunze and places around the area, the organisation’s founder Fortune Chitsumba says about 45% of young people are taking drugs in Ushewokunze suburb in Harare South Constituency.


Speaking on the sidelines of the the clean up, Chitsumba said they targeted Ushewokunze due to the high rate at which youths are taking drugs.


“We have targeted this place because we are worried with the rate at which young people are indulging into drugs. Around 45% of youths are taking drugs in Ushewokunze and there is need for massive awareness campaigns to educate them,” he said.


He also added that the organisation has engaged different stakeholders and massive campaigns in schools will be conducted next term.


“We has engaged different stakeholders and next term we are going to do awareness campaigns in schools starting in Highfields as we want to create a drug free society. We have sport activities that are coming so that young people stay occupied to reduce the rate of drug abuse,” said Chitsumba.


During the campaign, this publication interviewed a young man who is a drug addict. He said his life is miserable because he is taking drugs.


“My wife and children left me because I take drugs. I take mbanje, mutoriro and pills. If I do not take drugs I do not feel normal and it is now my lifestyle. I have not paid rent for 3 months because all the money that I get I spend it on drugs. I am willing to get help so that I live a normal life,” he said.


This publication also interviewed a number of people during the awareness campaign who said there is need for a collective responsibility to curb drug and substance abuse.


“We are slowly losing a future generation and it is painful that if we do not take action we are going to lose many young people to drug abuse. There is need for collective responsibility to curb the abuse of drugs,” said Fansen Nkomo.


Another man, Paul Munyaradzi Rukani said their community recently lost a youth to drugs.


“We have recently lost a young man to drugs and it is sad that we are losing future. Young people are killing themselves and relevant stakeholders should help our youths immediately,” he said.


Maughan and Eliseev (2007) narcotics experts believe that the local drug market is being

deliberately flooded to encourage addiction among youngsters. One fix is often enough to trap a child into addiction, with withdrawal symptoms including skin sores, excruciating muscle and bone pain, vomiting and insomnia.


They further say that the effects of larger doses include drowsiness, feelings of contentment, safety and being relaxed. Many who are addicted tend to lead chaotic lives that revolve around getting hold of the drug and various ways of getting money to buy it, which could include prostitution and stealing.


According to Dube, (2007), “Drug abusers often become so obsessed with the habit that everything going on around them is ignored, including the needs and situations of other family members, leading to a

breakdown of the family as a system”.

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