Covid-19 Worsens Drug Abuse Among Chipinge Youths

By Effort Manono

The COVID-19 induced lockdown measures have wreaked havoc in Chipinge with young people reportedly engaging in drug abuse due to idleness.

Since the pronouncement of a COVID-19 lockdown in March last year, schools have opened for less than three months, a situation that kept children out of school and idle in the process of breeding wayward behaviours such as drug abuse.

Unlike their urban counterparts who were learning virtually, those in rural setups where there is no Internet have found themselves without any schooling and they had to find comfort in drugs and alcohol.

One of the youths involved in drug abuse, Phainos Mtisi (16) from Checheche Growth Point said he started taking drugs and alcohol due to peer pressure from his friends.

“I started taking drugs such as broncleer and marijuana/mbanje as a result of peer pressure from my friends since I was still in form four, 2 years ago,” said Mtisi.

Mtisi who is in form four at a local school says he spends most of his time with his peers roaming around villages doing nothing progressive.

Asked if he will go back to school, Mtisi did not mince saying he is ready to go back though he was adamant that he would not stop his newfound hobby of taking substances.

Chipinge, Checheche in particular is battling against an illicit beer called Mukozodo which is being sold for R4 which is less than US0.50 cents.

Mukozodo is believed to be a by-product of ethanol and young boys claim that the illicit substance makes them high quickly.

Traditional leader Mr Lovemore Mahachi of Checheche bemoaned the rampant abuse of drugs which he attributed to the current lockdown.

“The uptake of drugs in and around Checheche Growth point has tremendously increased of late. Our children have lost morals and it will be very difficult to control their behaviour once they take these drugs, we have realised the importance of schools,” said Mahachi.

He said most parents and especially traditional leaders are having sleepless nights due to drug abuse by youths.

Catherine Vhutuza from Vemuganga Community Radio confirmed that the issue of drug abuse is often highlighted by parents who are worried that continued lockdowns will ruin their children.

“The rise in cases of drug abuse and early pregnancies is directly linked to the lockdown. In our work as we move around communities raising awareness on Covid-19, the concern of most parents has been the spike in uptake of drugs by youths,” said Vhutuza.

She called for collective responsibility by all stakeholders including parents, community leaders, church and schools in addressing the problem which she said if unattended can resultantly destroy a whole generation.

Source: 263chat

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