INFORMATION from local health experts indicates that 50 percent of youths abusing drugs end up in mental institutions, an official has said.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said this during the International Day Against Drug Abuse commemorations held in Mutare last Friday.
She said the scenario had been compounded by the fact that Zimbabwe’s drug policy criminalised victims of drugs or drug users.
“This situation also leads to the country losing essential human capital, which should be working productively for the development of Zimbabwe,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
She also said young people were big stakeholders in the nation hence they should stay away from drugs since they were the leaders of the future.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the nation must adopt a holistic approach to fight the problem of drug abuse, which had become rampant among young people who are falling prey to drug traffickers.
“According to the anecdotal evidence on the ground, a large percentage of youths are hooked on dangerous drugs – either taking or trafficking,” she said
Cde Mutsvangwa also said in terms of drugs, Zimbabwe was very attractive to drug traffickers because of the US dollar currency.
“The ‘Support Don’t Punish’ is a global advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the harm being caused by current drug policies that are both inconsistent and old.
“This campaign is calling on governments to put an end to the expensive counter-productive war on drugs. The war on drugs has failed to reduce drug use or supply,” she said
Minister Mutsvangwa also revealed that the war on drugs was unwinnable since it was being been driven by HIV/AIDS and many other diseases.
“We know that this war is unwinnable and unjustifiably expensive and is being driven by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis epidemics around the world.
“As we commemorate this day, we encourage all stakeholders, especially the Government, to come up with policies that promote safety, scientific research and human rights in the fight against drug use and illicit trafficking,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.