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30% youths abusing drugs: ZCLDN

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ZCLDN’s revelations come in the wake of a significant increase in bed occupancy at the country’s mental health institutions of drug abuse-related illnesses.

BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI THE Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN) has revealed that 30% of Zimbabwean youths are into drug abuse.

ZCLDN’s revelations come in the wake of a significant increase in bed occupancy at the country’s mental health institutions of drug abuse-related illnesses.

Speaking during a sensitisation meeting for editors last week in Harare, ZCLDN chief executive officer Wilson Box said the use of drugs was on the rise among youths and at workplaces.

“At least 30% of youth in our country are on Crystal Meth or Gukka, however, there are no official statistics on the prevalence of drug use in the country, and 75% to 85% of bed occupants in mental health institutions are due to substance use.

“Drug use in the workplace is also on the increase, especially for guys who do menial jobs in most of our industries in this country,” Box said.  He also indicated that marijuana was the most widely abused illegal drug in the country.

He revealed that codeine-based substances that are widely available can be purchased over the counter, adding that many people, including sex workers and young people prefer Crystal Meth, Mutoriro and Gukka Makafela.

Box’s organisation will soon unveil a situational analysis on drug use in the country’s five provinces.

“We should also note that drugs that were considered to be for the elites in the past such as cocaine are now finding their way into poor places like Mbare,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s drug problem comes as there are no public rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, while private rehabilitation centres are expensive and out of reach of many.

For instance, the Highlands Rehabilitation Centre costs US$3 000 for the first six weeks, while other institutions that offer psychological support such as Mandipa Hope Rehabilitation Centre in Mandara cost US$1 500  for the first six weeks.

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