COMMENT: Building rehab centres is crucial to fight against drug abuse
The impact of drug and substance abuse in the country is indeed sobering.
Thousands, especially youths and young adults are abusing a range of drugs, and a good number have developed an addiction. We have people who cannot do without the narcotics and as soon as they take them, they spend periods as long as a day just sleeping or sitting in one position. Just sticking in one position like a statue. Such people cannot do anything productive in life. If they fail to secure money to buy the contraband to satiate their addictions, they resort to crime.
They steal, they rob, they murder, just to be able to get money to buy their next bronco and so on.
This is a really big socio-economic challenge that got the Government focusing last year and this year’s editions of National Youth Day commemorations on the matter.
Kwekwe City Council is doing something very commendable against the scourge. After hogging the headlines in 2020 when converting an idle beer garden into an infectious diseases clinic, the local authority has identified yet another idle beer garden which it will convert into a drug and rehabilitation centre in response to the surge in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youth.
Town clerk Dr Lucia Mnkandla said:
“We felt we could convert one of the old beer halls, which was just lying idle into a drug rehabilitation centre. This is important because as a local authority we need to respond to the drug and substance abuse scourge bedeviling the local authority and the country at large. — We want to provide a facility to assist the youth and those who are in need of rehabilitation. The services will be affordable and within reach. So, as a local authority we felt we should take the lead in curbing drug and substance abuse.”
The city is arguably the first local authority in the country to make this deliberate effort to fight drug and substance abuse, an area which central Government has tended to lead.
Dr Mnkandla and her team have come up with an impressive project which must be supported by all of us given the enormity of drug and substance abuse in the country.
It would be good, we suggest, if the Government allocated the city a specific envelope to expedite the conversion of the bar into something more helpful instead of the city undertaking it using the general devolution allocation it receives from the fiscus yearly. A dedicated allocation will, in a special way, highlight the Government’s backing for this innovative pitch by Kwekwe City Council. It will enable the city to speed up the work while inspiring other local authorities to begin processes to fight drug and substance abuse in their areas of jurisdiction.
However, building rehabilitation centres is just as crucial; perhaps not as crucial as breaking the supply chain of the narcotics. Police must work hard to ensure that no dangerous drugs are smuggled into the country. They must also ensure that those that escape them along the borders are found wherever they are hidden, confiscated and the smugglers arrested and severely punished.
That would be a great way to make the Kwekwe innovation a white elephant.