Auxilia Katongomara/Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Reporters—
THREE pupils from Msiteli High School in Bulawayo were admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital after they allegedly drank a concoction containing pink pills that are allegedly being peddled to school children. Residents from Entumbane, Mpopoma and Mabutweni suburbs said they suspected the drugs were used to stabilise violent mental patients.
Pupils, who buy the pills at $1 for 10 pills, said mixing them with a soft drink produced a “nice instant high.” The pupils, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the drug is an affordable way of getting drunk without suffering a hangover. They said they bought the pills from a man identified only as Mkharadi or from a MaHadebe in Entumbane.
The pupils said they would never point out the sources to anyone as they feared being killed. The Chronicle yesterday spoke to Grace Mfandareva whose son spent two nights at the health institution after drinking the mixture. She said her 16-year-old son was admitted on Tuesday evening.
“At the hospital I was told that he had taken pills meant to stabilise the mentally challenged. He was hysterical and his pupils were dilated. We thought he was dying,” said Mfandareva. The woman said nurses told her that her son was not the first to be admitted recently showing similar symptoms.
Mfandareva said nurses were forced to invite the police to investigate the matter after the children indicated that they were ready to provide information on where they were sourcing the drugs.
“We hope that police will get to the bottom of this. We’re not excusing our children but a grown up man can’t go around selling dangerous drugs to our children. He must be arrested,” she said. Mfandareva said she was yet to report the incident to the police.
The teenager who was discharged yesterday said he took eight pills in a soft drink on Monday at 1PM and became dizzy and weak. “I lost control of my body. My neck couldn’t hold up straight and just lolled onto my chest. I was sweating profusely. I swear I’ll not take that drug again,” he said.
The other two teenagers, names withheld, who were admitted on Monday have also been discharged. A medical expert and Mpilo’s clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said he could not provide a comprehensive analysis on the drug as he needed to conduct laboratory tests.
He, however, strongly warned teens against taking it. Dr Ngwenya said the pill might provide temporal euphoria but it had long-term detrimental effects.
“It can kill. It can cause brain damage and kidney failure. It’s shocking that our children are taking it. It’s popular at parties in the Western world where they mix it with various drinks. This is something that we should campaign against,” he said. Bulawayo’s provincial education director Dan Moyo said the drug abuse issue has not been reported to his office.