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Fight against drug abuse intensifies

Story by Collette Musanyera

AS part of efforts to upscale the fight against drug abuse, government is developing a Drug and Substance Abuse Demand Reduction Strategy.

The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training in partnership with Silveira House and the University of Zimbabwe, conducted a baseline survey around the country’s provinces, to interrogate issues surrounding drug and substance abuse to come up with strategies to deal with the menace.

The baseline conducted in May revealed that 72 percent of drug and substance abusers are males, especially those who reside in urban areas.

“72 percent of drug and substance abuse are males. To try and come up with drug reduction strategy, there is a national committee on drug and substance abuse and the Ministry of Youth is responsible for the drug reduction pillar. We are now using the information we got from the baseline that we carried out in partnership with Silveira House and the University of Zimbabwe. We are using that information to feed into formulation of drug reduction pillar. We have quite a few recommendations and now we want to come up with news ways of approaching the problem. From the baseline we have a number of issues which need strategies to address them. We noted that one of the biggest challenges we are having is that one of the most commonly used drug is mbanje and it is easily accessible so it’s a toll order coming up with a strategy that addresses the abuse of that drug,” said Director Strategic Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Blazio Manobo.

The University of Zimbabwe and Silveira House researchers who are working with the ministry in coming up with the strategy, highlighted some of the key thematic issues that their research explored.

We were looking into the key sources of drugs, drivers, availability and usage patterns. 72 percent of drug abusers are males and most of them are young men below the age of 35. Drug and substance abuse is more prevalent in urban areas than rural. It’s prevalent among the educated, post- secondary school education,” noted Silveira House research officer, Mr David Bote.

University of Zimbabwe Department of Applied Psychology chairperson, Dr Samson Mhizha said, From the research we found out that majority of drug and substance abusers are young males and most of them are in urban areas. There is a relationship between drug and substance abuse, and age, gender and place of residence.”

Government has established the inter-ministerial task force on drug and substance abuse to coordinate the fight against the scourge and since then, robust strategies have been deployed to fight the social ill, including dealing with the supply chain and converting Covid-19 isolation centres into rehabilitation centres.

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