‘Let’s do more on youth drug abuse’

National dialogue programme

ZIMBABWE needs to redouble its efforts to come up with mechanisms that will help curb drug abuse among youths.

“Physiologically, during the COVID-19 era, most young people resorted to drugs. There was the introduction of drug-taking and most young people were resorting to it as a way of trying to find solace,” National Association of Youth Organisations senior programmes officer Lisa Mawuwa said.

She was speaking during a two-day national dialogue programme meant to review the involvement and participation of youth in disaster management systems by Action Aid.

“There should be mechanisms of how to solve those issues because this is affecting most youths,” Mawuwa added.

Medical experts estimate that illicit drug use is directly and indirectly responsible for over 750 000 deaths a year, with many dying from overdose.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report of 2013 estimates that there are 28 million drug users in Africa.

Zimbabwe does not have public rehabilitation centres and services at available private institutions are priced beyond the reach of many.

It costs over US$400 per week at private-run rehabilitation centres.

Mawuwa also urged government to include the youths in disaster management and humanitarian decision-making structures, saying most youths and women were being sidelined.

“In terms of decision-making, young people and women are sidelined. They are always embedded in households and this has affected most youths, with many abusing drugs,” she said.

“Youths should be set aside and given specific actions and tasks that they have to take when it comes to disaster risk management.”

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