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Zimbabwe Expands Drug Rehabilitation Efforts Amid Rising Youth Addiction

 The Zimbabwean government says it is scaling up its response to a surge in youth drug abuse by expanding rehabilitation facilities nationwide.

Rutendo Maraire

The plan, announced by Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe, aims to convert former COVID centers into drug treatment facilities, ensuring at least one per province.

"This urgent action is necessary," Minister Kazembe stated, citing the limited number of existing facilities. As of October 2022, only four government hospitals offered psychiatric help for addiction.

Agnes Mahomva, Chief Coordinator in the President's Office, outlined a comprehensive 2024-2030 national plan to combat drug abuse. "Work is underway," she affirmed, highlighting a recent delegation to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to secure support.

A UNICEF study paints a troubling picture: drug dealers' homes are the most common consumption sites (46%), followed by friends' houses (32%). Worryingly, the study found dealers are well-known in communities and sell indiscriminately to all ages.

The government's crackdown is ongoing. Information Minister Jenfan Muswere reported over 6,000 arrests since January 2024, including both suppliers and users. Law enforcement has raided and destroyed over 100 illegal drug bases across the country.

The scale of the problem is alarming: a 2019 study revealed 57% of young Zimbabweans have abused drugs, primarily marijuana and alcohol, often as a means to cope with unemployment and poverty.


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