Numbing their Pain

Sinqobile Tessa
ADDICTIVE: Drug and alcohol abuse is a growing problem amongst Zimbabwe's youth

“It’s tight masalu (slang for mother)”, a young male neighbour responded over the weekend when I commented about his drunken stupor in the morning.

He could hardly walk or speak properly yet it was just after 9am, meaning he had been heavily drinking or even taking drugs the previous night.

And when he said ‘it’s tight’ I felt pity for him as it was an expression that all was not well in his life, I understood him.

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The young man completed his tertiary education studies last year and is yet to find formal employment, if ever he is lucky enough to get anything.

While he still stays with his parents, he does menial jobs for little income.

Life is hard for these young ones because they have their lives ahead of them yet our country has nothing to offer, no prospects for a bright future; it’s just a bleak, sad and hopeless situation.

I live in Figtree, a small farming community, 40kms outside Bulawayo and there are a number of young unemployed people roaming around. Some have resorted to drugs and alcohol abuse to keep them going.

This is actually now a national trend, as more jobless young people while away the days boozing and dabbling in drugs to ‘numb their pain’ and distract themselves from the miserable reality of their tough lives.

For this reason, the cabinet has endorsed the creation of Drug and Substance Elimination Agency to curb the social ill.

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According to the Information Minister, Jenfan Muswere, 6, 148 people involved in drug related activities have been arrested since the beginning of the year. These include 677 suppliers and 5, 471 drug users.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, the Minister said government has been intensifying operations targeting illegal drug trading hubs in major cities like Harare, Bulaway, Mutare, resulting in the identification and dismantling of 106 such dens.

But while the government is making an effort to arrests these people, those in authority need to understand the underlying problems and deal with them in a more vigorous way.

Of course they are talking about the Youth Service in Zimbabwe training programme but judging from the past, these have not yielded positive results.

Young people need jobs and a stable economy that has prospects of a brighter future. Unless the powers that be strongly address the economic problems, I don’t see them winning against drug abuse as this seems to be the answer for many young people who are out there in the streets doing nothing.

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