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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Chiredzi community condemns drug and substance abuse

Story by Gay Matambo

DRUG and substance abuse have been cited as a threat to the development of the country as reports indicate that teenagers are falling victim to the worrying scourge in Chiredzi town.

This Saturday, government officials, the business community, parents and teenagers of Chiredzi town ,initiated conversations on how best to curb the scourge of drug and substance abuse.

A victim of drug and substance abuse, Irene, said peer pressure is a major push factor.

Irene said, “A friend lured me into drug abuse when I was at school. I was a boarder and what I can say is drugs are destructive. You can’t do anything productive and you end up even insulting your parents. I urge parents to pray for their children.”

Youths highlighted the importance of having more rehabilitation centres across all urban areas in the country.

“We need rehabilitation centres for the addicts so that they can recover quickly. Our youths are being destroyed; hence we hope law enforcement agents will assist us by arresting drug dealers in our communities. Drugs have immediate and long-term effects on health and the most worrying are the long term effects which involve mental health issues. We end up having youths roaming the streets with mental disorders due to drugs,” said a youth member.

Parents and guardians of victims of drug and substance abuse stressed the need for stiffer penalties for those convicted of drug-related crimes.

A victim’s parent said, “May we please have suggestion boxes so that we can name and shame these drug lords in our communities that are selling drugs to our children. Our children are now mental patients due to drugs. What is most painful is that the people who are selling these drugs are not from here they are killing the future of our town.”

“We must unite as a community and fight this scourge. Once involved in drugs, these youths sell anything even our properties or clothes just to get the drugs. They sleep from morning to evening while intoxicated. This means they are not productive and we are even scared to confront these children because they might end up assaulting us,” said another parent.

The local leadership and business community in Chiredzi weighed in saying drug and substance abuse have become one of the town’s risk factors confronting the youths.

Masvingo Provincial chairman for the chamber of SME’s, Mr Venancio Kurauone said, “Looking at economic growth, the youths are the future leaders, future work force, future business people of tomorrow, hence we are worried as a business community because that same generation is being affected by drugs. We are going to be working together with our law enforcement agents and the community and we will assist them in fighting this scourge.”

“So many youths have been affected by drug abuse. This is just a starting point in terms of fighting the scourge. We want to intensify these campaigns and ensure that those selling the drugs are brought to book,”said Chiredzi Town Council deputy chairman, Mr Jameson Charumbira.

As part of efforts to assist drug addicts to recover, the government resolved that all idle provincial Covid-19 isolation facilities be converted into multi-sectoral drug rehabilitation centres.

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