COMMENT: Let’s stop raising a whole generation of drunk youths

07 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
COMMENT: Let’s stop raising a whole generation of drunk youths

The Chronicle

THE statistics are frightening.  That more than 90 percent of all admissions at Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital in Bulawayo are drug-related.  Of the 90 percent admissions at that facility, the bulk are youths who would have been overcome by drugs as well as illicit, highly potent, if not toxic drinks including njengu.  Early last month, a total of 17 youths from Entumbane were rushed to Ingutsheni after a drug overdose. Later that month Dominican Convent Girls’ High School in Harare expelled eight kids after catching them using or carrying drugs on a trip to Nyanga.

The substances of concern are not just njengu which is most easily accessible and abused because of its cheapness; there are harder, more expensive ones such as cocaine, heroin and ecstasy that some better-resourced locals consume.

One has to see someone hit by njengu to appreciate its enormous impact. They say some who would have taken it can sit or stand in one position for up to 10 hours.  If he is seated, if he is standing, if he falls asleep after taking it, he would be in that position for 10 hours; no movement, no eating, no talking, just stuck there like a statue, or zombie.

Regular intake of the alcohols and drugs damages the liver, brain and heart of the consumer, which apart from causing addiction, can result in serious mental and physical, social breakdown and sometimes premature death.

We don’t really think the country has had a drug/alcohol abuse crisis of this magnitude in its history. We shudder to think the sort of future the young generation will have if they keep on the drugs and illicit brews.

The Government is concerned, which is why it has set up structures nationwide to educate the people about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and what they or their relatives can do for the abusers to get help. It is drafting an anti-drug master plan as well.

Ingutsheni Hospital

In addition, authorities have demonstrated their concern by ensuring that the National Youth Day, which commemorates the February 21 birthday of the late former President Robert Mugabe, focuses on drug issues for the second successive year.

Last year, the theme was “Alleviate Substance and Drug Abuse by the Youth.”  That event also witnessed the launch of the National Drug Abuse Fund which was proposed in the 2022 National Budget.

This year, the day will be marked at Lupane in Matabeleland North Province under the theme “Drug and Substance Abuse: A Threat to Vision 2030, Every Community has a Responsibility.”

Drug abuse

That drug and substance abuse is a threat to the attainment of Vision 2030 and more broadly, our collective longer term future as a country goes without saying. Who will lead the country if it raises a whole generation of drunk youths?  Who will be of good mental and physical health to work on the farms, in industry and commerce if the young generation is always drunk, or just sitting there or asleep for hours on end? Who will be sober enough to think constructively on anything that can move our society forward? We don’t know.

“Drug abuse has become a menace in our society, which is a cancer that threatens the lives of our youths,” said President Mnangagwa on Sunday, in a speech read on his behalf by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube during the 62nd Guta Ra Mwari’s God’s Coming celebrations at the church’s Tshabalala headquarters in Bulawayo.

“The drug peddlers are in our communities, let’s avail this information to our police and also seek help for those youths that have been affected. To the youth of the church, I call upon you to be examples to others by leading the way in shunning drug abuse.”

Minister Judith Ncube

We remain hopeful that the work that the Government, the church and non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders are doing will salvage the situation. We saw recently how police in Bulawayo busted an illicit alcohol smuggling and retail racket and how they did the same in Entumbane after the 17 youths lost their minds after a njengu binge.

A Nigerian man who passed himself off as a pastor was busted in Victoria Falls with 2,3kg of cocaine worth $126 million in October last year.  He got 10 years in jail early last month. We are encouraged by his arrest and the raid on the Bulawayo warehouse where the illicit alcohol was kept because they probably happened before the traders had sold the drugs and alcohol to the people.

However, given that drug and substance abuse is rife in the country, the foregoing could represent the few cases that were crushed. More aren’t being accounted for. We therefore call for more vigilant enforcement of the law along the borders to ensure that those attempting to import the drugs and or substances are stopped there before they bring their contraband in here to pollute society.

President Mnangagwa

But charity always begins at home. Parents and guardians have to watch their kids or charges. They must read their behaviours, know who their friends are, what sort of friends they are and so on. A parent must be able to pick a clue or two to investigate further. If any suspicions get confirmed, the parents and or guardians can seek immediate assistance before their young ones get irreversibly hooked on the illicit drugs and substances. If every home secures itself, its young ones against drugs and substances, society will, in turn, be free from them. With that, Vision 2030 will be attainable and the longer term future of our nation secure.

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