Rehabilitation centre fails to cope with high number of patients

By Tafara Chikumira

THE sharp increase in the number of teenagers resorting to drug and substance abuse has become a huge burden for a Gweru-based mental and drug rehabilitation institution, which is now failing to cope with the upsurge in the number of patients.

The number of youths who are hooked on drugs has risen to alarming levels amid a proportionate increase in the number of adults suffering from mental health.

Located some 12 kilometres outside the city of Gweru is Queen of Peace, a mental and rehabilitation centre which has been overwhelmed by the huge number of patients which rose from around 40 to 60 at the end of last year.

“We are in a Catch 22 situation with regards to our essentials. Our budgeting has been strongly affected. While we have seen some of our patients leaving the institution after being rehabilitated, the influx of those from the streets is worrying. The cooperate world has not been forthcoming as they used to do in the past. We are just hoping that someone out there might see that we don’t completely run out of food,” said Mr Berrington Mutembedza, Queen of Peace board vice chairperson.

The institution, which recently acquired land for expansion, is hoping to decongest the centre subject to getting the necessary financial resources.

 “The fact that our numbers are growing means our space for providing shelter is getting smaller and smaller. That side we have reserved it for the elderly we also pick on the streets, but cannot be taken back to their homes or old people’s homes for various reasons. We also have a situation where some boys and girls are now sharing the same dormitories and these are growing up and our fears are that we might end up with bigger problems,” he said.

The Queen of Peace Mental Centre, which has been expanded into a drug and substance rehabilitation centre, has become a safe haven for recovering drug addicts.