BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GOVERNMENT is considering turning idle beerhalls across the country into drug abuse rehabilitation centres to address the scourge currently afflicting mostly youths.
Speaking yesterday during a breakfast meeting hosted by Pamumvuri, in partnership with the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe, Health deputy minister John Mangwiro said the country was losing many youths to drugs, hence the idea of turning idle bars into rehabilitation centres.
“Addiction is a serious problem. These people can no longer control themselves. Youths are the highest population in this country, we need them to be healthy and educated. There are empty beerhalls now as people don’t want to drink from beerhalls. Let us convert those into rehabilitation centres.
“We want this to be taken very seriously. We need to train the psychiatrists and nurses so that they specialise in this subject. We need to remember that addiction can also run in the family, and so we need to be very careful,” Mangwiro said.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) Substance Abuse Interventions report says 57% of Zimbabwean youths abuse substances.
Mangwiro added: “We also want to encourage our colleges and universities to really take up this subject seriously, especially those who are being trained to take care of the mentally-challenged people.”
He warned drug peddlers against the vice, saying some of them were supplying the illicit substances at workplaces.
“These substances are also being supplied at workplaces. We need your help to identify these people so that we deal with them in order to address this challenge,” he said.
Public Service minister Paul Mavima said the government was planning to provide social protection resources to families with children abusing substances.
“His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) has warned those that supply drugs to our children. The country is experiencing high crime rates and low productivity at work due to these substances. As Cabinet, we are working to address some of these problems. We have also set five pillars. We have surveillance systems at airports where we are ensuring that we don’t have drugs coming into the country. We want to scale up these activities to curb this issue.”
WHO country representative Alex Gasasira, who was represented by Tsitsi Siwela, said: “Zimbabwe should ensure more efficient and effective use of its existing resources. It should strengthen partnerships for financing and investing in mental health issues.”
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