Dr Johannes Marisa
Covid-19 is showing signs of remission although there is fear that a new mutant strain of the virus — Deltacron — has potential to cause misery again.
The world should be reminded that it is not yet over with the pandemic as there are chances of more serious calamity ahead.
Covid-19 contributed significantly to the obtaining drug scourge in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, having been the only passtime for most youth when virtually all activities were brought to a standstill.
Unemployment went up coupled with protracted school holidays. The youths resorted to all sorts of drugs.
Drug abuse is a reality that is threatening everyone. Illicit drug abuse is directly and indirectly responsible for over 750 000 deaths per year with more than 166 000 people dying from drug overdoses.
Addiction to tobacco, alcohol, amphetamines and other drugs inflicts a substantial toll in the world, measurable in terms of illnesses, deaths, social and economic costs.
According to National Library of Medicine (2019), United States reports approximately 40 million drug-related illnesses and injuries each year.
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The economic burden of addiction is estimated at greater than $400 billion each year, including healthcare costs, lost worker productivity and crime. The social costs to families and communities are just unbearable
Zimbabwe is not spared from drug abuse. Many youths have turned to drug use and abuse. It is a pity that lives are lost daily, injuries are occurring daily while cognitive function is gradually depleted.
Drug abuse has lately been aggravated by the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic that has left many people with unbearable stresses of live.
Schools were closed for a long time while many companies were forced to close operations thus automatically increasing unemployment in the country.
It has become fashionable in some locations to use drugs as cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, musombo, twumbwa, sodium polyacylate (from diapers), alcohol. The effects are just devastating.
Many other reasons are given for drug abuse with some pointing fingers at family history, disjointed families, stress, peer pressure, unemployment, ignorance.
It is time the nation stood up against drug abuse if we are to progress because the generational threat is surely unbearable.
No country can develop when the youths are indulging in such calamitous drug use.
The consequences are wide and many unnecessary lives are lost everyday.
Road traffic accidents are everywhere and one wonders if the drivers will not be under the influence of drugs.
Depression, conduct problems, personality disorders, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide and suicide are just unfortunate consequences that have potential to be averted.
Government is equally worried about the drug abuse scourge and Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro appealed to everyone to play their part in fighting the drug abuse scourge.
The lackadaisical approach that we exhibit in combating the scourge will backfire for everyone in the country.
Our children are facing a godawful future if the drug plague is allowed to grow unchecked.
No one should celebrate such practice. It is thus imperative that all the stakeholders work together for the benefit of the nation in a bid to avert the practice.
Some actions can be taken to alleviate the drug quagmire:
Health education should be enhanced via all means of communication about the effects of the drugs on health, society and the nation at large.
Mass media campaigns against drug abuse should be rolled out nationally.
Mubatirapamwe Trust, a local organisation has deployed social workers in communities to disseminate information about drug abuse and also identify victims that need help.
It is a pity that alcohol in Zimbabwe is advertised as an inspirational lifestyle and its consumption is promoted as normal and glamorous of which that is not true.
Law enforcement agents should clamp down on all drug syndicates and deterrent punishments should be given by the judiciary in order to reduce the supply of the drugs on informal markets.
Many people do know the sources or suppliers of dangerous drugs in the communities but these culprits are walking free as they, willy-nilly supply their victims with the dangerous drugs.
Industrialisation is important in order to increase employment as many drug addicts claim they have nothing else to do, hence the urge to resort to drugs.
In essence, the economic environment should be improved so that our youths are not rendered superfluous in the communities. Job creation is vital.
Youths should be kept busy by whatever means.
Rehabilitation of the affected people should be done and that calls for the establishment of drug rehabilitation centres which are unfortunately very few in Zimbabwe.
The private ones are unfortunately expensive and many people cannot afford to send their children to such homes.
Government can chip in to establish such centres in Zimbabwe.
More psychologists and psychiatrists will be required, thus calls for increased enrolment at the medical school.
It all begins with you. Make sure you shun drug abuse. Your health is of concern to everyone.
The scourge is moving like whirlwind. Let us stop drug abuse!