Zimbabwe records spike in substance use disorders

A man smokes a marijuana cigarette as about 100 Rastafarians and other members of the public sing and dance outside the Cape Town High Court in support of a court application to decriminalise dagga (marijuana/cannabis) on December 7, 2015 in the Cape Town centre. This case is one of several legal actions actions taking place around marijuana, including decriminalising hemp, used for making cloth, and various marijuana extracts used medicinally. / AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

The increase in the number of drug and substance abuse-related mental disorders has become a cause for concern, with local centres recording a spike in the number of youths admitted due to substance abuse.

Excessive drug and substance abuse is having a detrimental impact on mental health, especially among youths, with one of the country’s psychiatric units recording a spike in admissions of young people battling substance use disorders.

The majority of the patients we have been admitting here at Annex lately are due to substance use disorder. Traditional the most abused substances are alcohol and cannabis but lately, there has been an increase in people that use crystal meth, mutoriro and cocaine, said Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Fungi Mazhandu.

Clinical Psychologist Tarisai Bere also highlighted that people who use substances in excess end up suffering from mentally related illnesses.

People who have substance use in excess end up with drug and substance abuse disorders. A lot of young people even here at annex have been admitted on such cases and especially during lockdown we do have a lot of cases compared to other years, said Bere

Meanwhile, calls have been made for more awareness around issues of mental health and the effects of drugs.

To curb rampant substance abuse among youths, the government launched a multi-disciplinary and sectoral approach that will intensify prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and eliminate the supply and availability of illicit substances and drugs, among others.