A study conducted by community based organisation Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) has revealed rampant substance and drug abuse among primary and secondary school learners in Chipinge district.
According to PYCD the research targeted 130 respondents who included 100 learners and 30 adult stakeholders who include teachers, police, traditional leaders, nurses and selected parents.
“The research report confirmed that there is high prevalence of drug abuse by learners in schools and out of schools (at home and in townships). Shockingly and in an alarming revelation, 5 in every 10 or 1 in every 2 of learners between 13 and 19 years (teenagers from form 1 to form 6) are abusing drugs, this is 50 percent uptake.
“The uptake was noted to have taken a sudden high rise during the Covid-19 lockdown that started in March 2020. Learners became wild with parents and teachers losing control. The research also revealed that the uptake is high because these drugs are readily available, accessible and affordable. The border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe is porous where those dealing with drugs easily crosses for the market which is found in schools,” said the report
PYCD director Claris Madhuku revealed that homemade drugs are produced in large quantities and fetch around 2 South African Rands or ZWL$100 an amount that learners can afford even without involving their parents and has impacted negatively on communities.
“The Research hinted that the impact of drug use is calamitous, disastrous and devastating. It ranges from mental health, school dropouts, unsafe termination of pregnancy and abortion, absenteeism from school, truancy and rebelliousness, low pass rates, suicide, transmission of sexual infections like HIV/AIDS, Gender Based Violence and deaths among other horrendous consequences,” said Madhuku
PYCD provided recommendations that requires the mobilisation of key stakeholders who involve Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Traditional leadership, media, civic Society and the Church among others.
The findings identified that Mbanje/cannabis is the most prevalent at 38 percent, followed by locally made brews like mukozodo, mutonono, sope, munzvede, mutoriro, kambwa constitute 32%.
Glue constitutes 22 percent with drugs taken over the counter such as cough syrups like broncleer at 8 percent.
The research noted that there is no public rehabilitation centre in Manicaland Province amid calls to increase centres across the country.
Out of 64 secondary schools in Chipinge district, the research reached out to 43 schools to make the sample size 67 percent of the target schools.