THE three-day Manicaland Film Fair and Talent Show organised to fight drug and substance abuse starts today at Queensway Courtauld Theatre in Mutare.

The showcase is a partnership among local arts mother body, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), Cinema Society of Zimbabwe and Eastlife Entertainment Studios.

It will run under the theme We are Stronger than Drugs, We are More United than Crime.

Drug and substance abuse has remained one of the topical issues affecting young people in the country.

A United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) report, Understanding Drug Use and Substance Abuse by Zimbabwean Adolescents and Young People, published last month, cited substance abuse as the most severe public health and socio-pathological threats facing adolescents and young people in Zimbabwe which has a long-term impact on their well-being.

“Alcohol, drug and substance abused in order of consumption are cannabis 67%, cough syrup 47%, crystal meth 36%, illegal alcohol 31%, pharmaceuticals 13%, crack 3%, cocaine powder 3% and heroin 2%,” part of the report read.

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It also noted that alcohol, drug and substance abuse was higher in urban areas than rural areas due to stronger community childcare systems and closer parental care that prevails in rural communities.

Event organiser Stephen Mutsago, who is Eastlife Entertainment Studios director, told NewsDay Life & Style that the showcase is also aimed at promoting the film industry by fostering synergies with other creatives like music and dance.

“The event was stirred by an increase in the number of young people consuming drugs and committing crime. The majority affected cry for redemption from the tight grip,” he noted.

“Community engagement can effectively address drug and crime issues since it is a proven theory that collaborative effort brings forth results. Working together on information dissemination and resource mobilisation can help find solutions and eventually eradicate this drug abuse pandemic.”

Mutsago said the Zimbabwe Republic Police Drugs and Narcotics unit would conduct a drug abuse awareness session at the event.

Manicaland region NACZ arts manager Caroline Makoni said they had endorsed the event that would be attended by several schools.

She said three films Vicious Circle, ZveMoyo and Comrades that touched on several themes, chief among them, drug abuse, national heritage and other socially related issues would be shown at the event.