Govt intensifies efforts to combat drug abuse in Marginalized Communities

Staff Report

Government continues to escalate its efforts to curb drug and substance abuse in marginalized communities by bolstering the already existing inter-Ministerial Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse with partners that can reach the peripherals of the country.

In a recent interview, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe emphasized the Government's ongoing efforts to intensify the crackdown on illegal drugs, substances, and illicit alcohol across the nation.

“In marginalised areas we are reaching the peripherals by engaging communities, and in those communities we have church leaders, whether it’s Christianity or Islamic it’s all-inclusive. We are encouraging church leaders, pastors, bishops and the rest of the church to include anti-drug abuse messages when they preach, because the problem of drug and substance abuse is affecting the entire community,” he said.

He further explained that the inter-ministerial committee initiatives being done are designed to connect with every point in the country using various platforms, including the Ministry of Education, which specifically engages school children through tailored programs.

“We do have programs to reach out to each and every point through different platforms, be it ministry of education as they address school children through various programs. The Ministry of women affairs is also spreading out the message of drug and substance abuse when they conduct programs throughout the country in every district and ward.

The youth for example, are also having programs to empower them and capacitate them with entrepreneurship skills.  The whole idea is to try and move them away from drug abuse

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Communications and Advocacy Director, Taungana Ndoro noted how the committee’s measures would bolster the Ministry's ongoing initiatives in schools aimed at eradicating the pervasive issue of drug and substance abuse among our youth.

“The ministry's proactive approach underscores its commitment to safeguard the well-being of young people nationwide. By integrating comprehensive support systems and preventive strategies into both community and school settings, authorities aim to curb the troubling trend of drug misuse and promote a healthier future for our youth,” he said.

A report from the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has highlighted a concerning trend: the prevalence of illegal drug consumption has spread to both urban and rural schools. According to the report, 57.1 percent of learners aged between 13 and 19 years are reportedly abusing drugs.

The church has also welcomed the collaboration with the Inter-ministerial committee, highlighting the impact it can make in combating drug abuse.

Archbishop Rocky Moyo, leader of the Council of Churches in Africa (CCA), highlighted that drug abuse is jeopardising the future of young people.

“The prevalence of drug and substance abuse among the youth in the country has now reached alarming and unprecedented levels, as the Church we are conscientising youths and teaching them the drastic effects of drug abuse, we welcome the collaborative efforts between the Government and other stakeholders including the church in fighting this crisis,” he said.