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Residents ramp up fight against drug abuse

Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson Winos Dube made the call during an interview with Southern Eye this week.

Residents in Bulawayo have been challenged to form taskforces to search houses they suspect to be drug havens in the presence of the police as their contribution to the fight against drug abuse.

Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson Winos Dube made the call during an interview with Southern Eye this week.

He said officials from Bura engaged residents where they agreed to rid the city of drug and substance abuse.

“The greatest challenge that was deliberated on was the issue of drug and substance abuse. It was resolved that everybody must be seen playing a role in trying to reduce or help in all situations that will see the reduction of the menace which has befallen the country,” Dube said.

He said residents agreed to participate in all activities that would help in dealing with the scourge.

“The emphasis was actually not only to look at young people because the truth of the matter is being realised that alcohol abuse is even affecting the elderly people,” he said.

Dube said residents concluded that neighbourhood watch groups should be formed to curb the scourge of alcohol and drug abuse.

“It was resolved that each area should form special committees to monitor the area and make sure that whenever they suspect that such things are happening  or even where they suspect that drugs are being manufactured or delivered, people must come forward and work with law enforcement agents to deal with the situation,” Dube said.

“The issue was discussed thoroughly with residents agreeing that there was a strong need for the formulation of neighbourhood watch committees that will strictly be focusing on alcohol abuse. We are realising that our people are being seriously affected and lives are lost.”

Reports in January this year revealed that budgetary allocations to the Health and Child Care ministry, inadequate drug laws and a shortage of public health specialists are stalling Zimbabwe’s fight against rising drug and substance abuse.

Research by Accountability Lab Zimbabwe (ALZ) also noted that the scourge can be contained if the government built adequate rehabilitation facilities and strengthened or upgraded existing laws on drug and substance abuse.

The government estimates that current mental health facilities can only cater for roughly 5 000 patients at a given time, amid rising drug and substance abuse cases which have triggered a surge in mental health illnesses.

The ALZ recorded a clinical psychologist's density of 0,04 per 100 000 population and a psychiatrist’s density of 0,1 per 100 000 population.

The non-governmental organisation in advocating for increased public awareness campaigns for the scourge.

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