ZIMBABWE has launched a five-year National Drug Master Plan which runs from 2020-2025 which seeks to address a range of drug related issues.
By Patricia Mashiri
Dr Jasper Chimedza , the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child (MoHCC) said there was need to address supply, demand reduction as well as control of illicit substances based on International Drug Control Conventions and in line with the principles of balanced approach to drug control.
Substances that are commonly abused in Zimbabwe include alcohol (both licensed and unlicensed brews) tobacco, cannabis and non-medical use of controlled medicines such as codeine containing cough medicines and benzodiazepines.
Currently approximately 60% of patients admitted in mental health institutions suffer due to drug related problems. Due to the socio-economic situation, Zimbabwe is facing increasing cases of depression, trauma and stress which has led to the increase in drug use. Hence as a nation there is need to have a concerted effort to address this menace.
“Alcohol, Marijuana, Crystal Meth (Mutoriro) and Broncleer among others are the main drugs being abused especially by the youth. Excessive use of Alcohol and drugs damage the health of users and is linked to rises in addiction and non-communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart diseases, psychological disorders and an increase in road traffic accidents,” Dr Chimedza said.
Dr Chimedza said there was need for concerted efforts to help and protect the youths from drugs as they are the future.
“There is great belief and optimism that the guidelines, strategies, and all that is contained within this National Drug Master plan will pave way to strengthening responses on drug related issues in a positive way. It also strengthens prevention which is the most important leg in this Master Plan. The Master Plan also serves to strengthens, motivate, and educate users on drug related issues and their effects.
“The program performance will be reviewed annually to see if the goals and objectives of the Drug Master Plan are being met. The annual review will also help in noticing the alleviation of drug use in Zimbabwe. All stakeholders are encouraged to embrace these guidelines on how to deal with drug use and challenges and prioritize their actions in a way that will lead to accomplishment of the Drug Master Plan’s aim. Concerted efforts is needed to protect youths which are future of the nation,” Dr Chimedza said.