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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Mbare community tackles drug addiction

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

THE Mbare community is taking a stand against drug and substance abuse through an initiative, where parents and church leaders are equipped with knowledge and expertise to deal with the scourge.

24-year-old Tinashe Mtambo of Mbare started taking drugs at the age of 13 and his life has been a roller coaster since then.

“I am 24 years. I started taking drugs at the age of 13 back then I was only taking marijuana but along the way when I was around 20 that is when I started taking crystal meth and it affected me because I lost the trust of my family members and even at school it affected my performance. When I was high with crystal meth during the day I was very energetic and would be out of control, come nighttime I couldn’t sleep. I could go for 3 to 4 days without sleeping.

For me to be clean it took the church to transform me. My advice to youths is to desist from taking drugs because drugs have many bad influences, and they affect your health and because of the cravings some will end up stealing,” he said.

The scourge of drug abuse is also taking a deep emotional toll on parents and guardians as they painfully watch their children wasting away.

The parent of a drug addict, Chiedza Dzere said, “My baby was 17-years-old, and he was involved in any sort of drugs that you could name mutoriro, marijuana you can name them. It is not easy for a parent to see your child having so many addictions and you cannot do anything about it the way he was acting the way he behaved he would be agitated with a little thing, and he was aggressive most times he wouldn’t act properly, and it was so hard for me. I kept asking myself why me.”

“I am here representing the church and how important it is for us to work together, why because the church is having issues in the community and in terms of issues of drugs not just people using drugs but issues of how best can we help people because we are not informed we have parents who are affected and they have kids who are affected with drugs.

Sometimes as pastors and as leaders we don’t even know how to help them but this programme for me today was an awareness programme to be able to be well equipped to know the different stages of how people can be helped or how the drug cycle affects people,” said Greatness Covenant Centre, Pastor Munatsi Sande.

A local private voluntary organisation, Shale Zero Seven Youth Foundation is working with the Mbare community to bridge the knowledge gaps regarding drug abuse. 

“Today we were gathering the parents of this community, these are parents and guardians with children struggling with substance abuse and addiction. We wanted to gather them here, give them information, share experiences, and find solutions for the problems they are facing with their children at home.

Our target is the youth mainly because our target is run for the youth but it is not the youth alone that needs this intervention I think it is not enough for us to assist the youth and they still go back home to their families that do not have adequate information to help them on their recovery journeys from substance abuse and addiction.

We want a holistic programme that will touch the youths, the parents, the community as a whole, churches, and schools where these children are. It is still the youths that are helped,” said Shale07 Youth Foundation co-founder, Ms Sharon Mukuze.

A facilitator, Mashall Hakuna said, “Our main objective today was mainly to spread knowledge and to give support to parents who have children or dependents who are abusing substances. Being here in Mbare every corner every other household has a child who is using some sort of drug, and there are extreme cases where you find kids are addicted and causing strife to their parents there is now discord in the households.”

Government is also in the process of establishing a National Drug and Substance Agency, whose major function will be to coordinate efforts by different government ministries, departments, and agencies towards eliminating drug and substance abuse in the country.

The National Drug Agency is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, taking over the coordination of all national drug and substance abuse activities currently being implemented by the National Task Force.

The move is expected to strengthen the multi-sectoral approach of leaving no one and no place behind.

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