The Sunday News
Sharon Chimenya, Masvingo Correspondent
ZIMBABWE has the highest number of teenagers in Africa who engage in heavy episodic drinking, a situation that stakeholders are fighting amid revelations that some cross-border truck drivers have been fingered for fuelling drug and substance abuse.
The drivers are accused of smuggling illegal substances and selling them at truck inns.
The revelations came out at a meeting in Masvingo recently where concerns were raised on the availability of cheap drugs on the streets that were being sold to young people who abuse them. It was noted that some of the drugs are allegedly being sold by truck drivers.
Director of Social Development in the Ministry of Labour, Public Services and Social Welfare Mr Tawanda Zimhunga said drug lords and drug syndicates in neighbouring countries were using the Zimbabwean corridor to traffic their drugs to other countries making the country vulnerable to drug abuse.
He said Zimbabwe had the highest number of 15–19-year-olds in Africa who engage in heavy episodic drinking with 70.7 percent being males and 55.5 percent females.
“According to research, Zimbabwe has the highest number of 15 to 19-year-olds in Africa who engage in heavy episodic drinking with 70.7 percent being males and 55.5 percent females. A myriad of factors have been attributed to the abuse of drugs and substance abuse which include availability.
There are drugs that are being trafficked into other countries through Zimbabwe and a transit country becomes a consumption country.
He said that crystal meth, cocaine, cannabis, heroin, glue, skin lighteners, alcohol, sex enhancers and cough mixtures such as histalix and broncleer, body enlargements, illicit beverages such as musombodhiya were classified as the most abused drugs in the country and their availability in the country at a low cost was a cause for concern.
In a speech read on his behalf, Great Zimbabwe University Vice-Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo said data from police has shown that from January to July this year about 2 618 people were arrested of which 1 976 were males while 642 were females in drug related crimes. Of these 2 061 were above 35 years while 870 were below 35.