Drug, substance abuse rife in Zimbabwe

By Abigirl Tembo Health Editor

DRUG and substance abuse is on the increase in Zimbabwe, with the main culprits mostly found in urban areas.

48 year old Edith Kawamba is addicted to bronclear. Like many other people in Mbare, substance use disorder has taken over Edith’s life and her two children are now hooked on drugs.

“My children are also now addicted to mutoriro and other drugs, it pains me as a parent but there is nothing I can do because they always say they learnt from me,” she said.

For some this has become a way of life and there seems to be no way out.

“I have resorted to Marijuana and bronclear to forget and make my troubles go away. Once I am high I forget everything.

“This is our way of life in the ghetto we have nothing to do so we spend our time drinking and smoking. I have tried stopping but I always go back,” they said.

The health and social effects of these drugs are well documented but somehow they ignore them only to come face to face with reality in the worst possible manner.

“After taking these drugs going to the toilet is really difficult for me.

“Once I take these drugs I become violent, I have been married a number of times but because of my addiction nothing lasts.

“The drugs have really affected me as I no longer have sexual feelings,” they said.

According to a recovered former drug addict, recovering from drug abuse requires personal motivation.

“I took cocaine for about 7 years and at the moment I have been clean for 5 years. It took personal motivation for me to overcome the addiction. The choice to take drugs is simple but the process to quit is very tough but it can be done,” he said.

Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network, a group which is working with people who use drugs, reckons there is need for a drug policy.

“This problem is now rampant and what’s needed is a drug policy that addresses these issues. Mutoriro or crystal meth is now a menace. What needs to be done is to look at our policy that is the laws governing the use of these drugs in Zimbabwe, the laws are criminalizing people who use drugs usually go underground and they don’t seek help. The laws need to be humane and give support to people who use drugs,” said Wilson Wilson Box Executive Director Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network.

Last year, the government in conjunction with other partners launched the Zimbabwe Drug Masterplan which contains strategies for treating people who use drugs.

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