By Nhau Mangirazi
The government, private sector, and the international community have been urged to step up solutions in combating drug and substance abuse affecting youths.
In a statement, Shamwari Yemwanasikana in partnership with the Girls Rights Collective said there is a need to act against the social ills affecting communities.
‘‘Drug abuse among the youth in Zimbabwe has reached alarming levels, and the number of youths engaging in drug abuse is increasing. Yearly, the pandemic poses a threat to the attainment of vision 2030 to alleviate substance and drug abuse among the youth.
‘‘We are therefore calling upon every Zimbabwean and all stakeholders in all spheres to come together and fight drug and substance abuse to create a healthy Zimbabwe and a healthy generation,’’ reads the statement.
It further calls upon all relevant stakeholders to come up with a strategy to address ‘social evil to protect and promote girls’ rights.
‘‘The world is at threat and it needs us and the nation at large to address this issue as a matter of urgency. As SYS and the Girls Rights Collective, we pledge our support of the girl child in advocating for addressing the adverse effects of drug and substance abuse in all spheres.
‘‘We strongly do not approve of the use of drug and substance abuse because our children are the future and the present.
Their mental health is very important. Let’s all fight and denounce it.
‘‘We are a part of agenda 2063, vision 2030, and the SDGs4 in achieving and attaining quality education and SDG3 full access to health and provisions.
‘‘We, therefore, realized that we cannot fulfill these without the young people and girls being in their complete mental state.
‘‘We know of many push factors to drug abuse but not limited to issues of peer pressure, poverty, mental health, and other issues.’’ reads the statement.
It however urges youths to be responsible.
‘‘We are therefore encouraging the youths to be responsible and know that drugs are not the answer. Let’s allow and support our children to take education first, and allow them to seek mental health support when they need it,’’ says the statement.
It also encourages parents to continue interacting with their children and to know where they spend their time and why because it is critical.
“Parents and guardians must constantly check on the websites and content accessed online by children. Let’s talk about drug abuse at churches, in communities and have it at the centre for discussion as a nation because it will cripple our young generation and this will hinder their full development,” said the statement.
Girls Rights Collective is a network that advocates for the rights of girls in Zimbabwe and beyond through fighting against drug and substance abuse.
The calls come against the expulsion of eight students from St Dominican Convent private school that were found guilty of abusing drugs by the school authorities this week.