YESTERDAY we held a drug and substance abuse conference in Harare where it became apparent that the country is dealing with a serious scourge, threatening to not only erode our past achievements, but to steal the future.
Speaker after speaker spoke about the debilitating consequences of drug and substance abuse. At the end of the day-long conference, there was one unambiguous resolution — drug and substance abuse must be ended like yesterday.
Without that, the country is on the verge of losing a whole generation to substance abuse. Recently, Harare City Council Health Services director Prosper Chonzi gave a chilling warning, the nation will lose its youth if the country does not come up with stiff measures to end substance abuse.
In reality, he spoke about losing a whole generation. “The most worrying and depressing thing that we are dealing with is the whole generation (on drugs). If you have a generation of youth that are not productive, that don’t even think about being productive, that don’t go to school, that don’t go to work and that don’t even work for themselves, they will end up selling their parents` small little things so that they can finance the substance that they are taking at the moment,” Chonzi said.
“We need to do something, not only as a city, but at the central government level. The major problem that we have discussed as public health specialists is that we must deal with the source of drugs.”
A few days later, one of the country’s best schools, the Catholic-run Dominican Convent High, announced that it had expelled eight students after they were caught with drugs during a Nyanga junket they had embarked on. This clearly demonstrated how rampant drug abuse is now in the country. It is worrying and may prove catastrophic.
The future of our children and the nation is in jeopardy if nothing urgent is done to arrest the scourge. It is our hope that yesterday’s conference resolutions would be taken heed of and authorities would embark on a magisterial and conscious decision to clamp down on drug and substance abuse. Without that we are a rudderless society.
We need to have a zero tolerance for nonsense. Discipline should always guide us. It is now incumbent upon authorities to deal decisively with malcontents who intend to turn the country into a haven of drug lords and thieves. It’s now or never!