In a media engagement community forum held in Mberengwa East at Murerezi today, civil groups, community leaders and parents expressed great concern over the serious involvement of youths in drug abuse, Community Voices Zimbabwe can reveal.
The findings from this engagement which was attended by Murerezi Community Development Trust, people with disabilities and ward committee members tackled the menace of drug abuse which had become the greatest headache for Mberengwa villagers. Responding to Community Voices Zimbabwe Director Jasper Maposa’s presentation which among others things focussed on the rising number of youth falling prey to drug abuse, Mberengwa villagers argued that drug abuse has become a national problem and not an urban phenomenon based on the trends in their community.
Maffios Shoko, one of the youths who attended the forum believes the mushrooming of illegal markets of drugs in communities which have led to easy access to drugs by youths is worsening Community injuries
“The problem is that these drugs are now being sold everywhere. There is easy access to these drugs by youths since even the adults are actively participating in selling them. In townships, schools, and in some background zones drugs are sold”, Said Shoko.
Executive secretary for Murerezi Community Development Trust (MCDT), Wilbert Tatira, said drug abuse has taken a toll in the rural communities leading to a serious decrease in academic performance by the youths which is why MCDT has tried but with mild success to distract youths from drugs through football.
“As Murerezi Community Development Trust we try to reduce our youths’ involvement in drug-taking through hosting ball games but the situation is getting serious, they even take more drugs for abnormal performance in these local football games. We would appreciate it if Community Voices Zimbabwe can partner with us in that regard and assist our youth”, Tatira said.
Primrose Nyangoni, focal person for Association of the Disabled and Elderly People (ADCEP) in Mberengwa, believes that parental negligence and adults involvement in the selling of drugs is a major community loophole preventing the communities from successfully combating drug trafficking and abuse by youths.
“The problem is that even the elderly people are actively involved in these drugs and these are the ones selling drugs to youths entrenching this drug abuse habit in our societies”, said Nyangoni.
Nyangoni therefore calls upon the government to implement deliberate programmes to upgrade Community health centres such as clinics by assigning many psychiatrists which will see the decentralisation of health services to the seriously affected remote areas.
“The government need to train many psychiatrists and place them in rural clinics for easy access to mental health services by rural people”, she said.
Present on the event was also a ward development committee secretary, Ndomuvonga Chitandaudze, who believes lack of strong anti-drug abuse national policies is leaving room for this continued involvement of communities in drugs.
“Drug abuse is becoming a serious problem due to lack of powerful government policies which prevents the use of drugs in our societies by severely punishing those caught in act. The government need to empower the community with legal measures which will put an end to the problem of drugs being freely consumed everywhere”. Chitandaudze said.
Another youth who was part of the forum, Tavonga Moyo, laments the serious damages caused by drugs to the youths’ health especially mental health and he suggests the need for counselling to stop youths from getting addicted to drugs.
“Drug abuse is seriously affecting our youths in terms of health. Some of them end up with serious mental health complications, hence there is dire need for child counselling and support before drugs completely ruins the,” Said Moyo.