REPORTS of schoolchildren attending the notorious Vuzu parties, where they indulge in sex, drug and alcohol abuse have become more prevalent.

Most concerning is that the parties are organised by children and juveniles from well-up families, especially those with parents and relatives in the diaspora.

As the economic crisis shows no signs of abating, many parents have left the country in search of a better life, leaving their children behind with no guidance, which has become the source of the Vuzu parties’ craze.

In yesterday’s edition, we published a story in which police in Bulawayo revealed that they have since intensified efforts to eliminate the vice in the city.

While parents are being forced to cross borders in search of greener pastures, this has, however, bred lack of parental guidance and monitoring, resulting in many of the schoolchildren finding it easy to host or attend the Vuzu parties.

Peer pressure, breakdown of the family support system, limited knowledge about the effects of drug abuse and stress have previously been identified as the major factors that drive substance and drug abuse among the youth and schoolchildren attending the Vuzu parties.

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Criminalisation of drug and substance abuse has, however, continued to make it difficult for young people to seek help when they suffer from the effects of drug abuse.

The drug menace cannot be eradicated by the police alone, we need to act collectively to fight this scourge so that we nip it in the bud.

We believe emphasis must shift from the legal approach to a public health approach in order to address the challenges and complications associated with drug and substance abuse among young people in Zimbabwe.

The role of parents in guiding children in relation to drug abuse is vital.

Parents have a unique relationship with their children and can provide the guidance and support necessary to help them avoid the pitfalls of drug abuse.