THE festive season was full of hyper activity, especially of staggering youths. This sight was common not only with the Bulawayo community but in most towns and cities of Zimbabwe.
I had this ringing in my mind; is it the water they are drinking or the air they are breathing, that makes them look so intoxicated, but as l took a glance at some of the groups of the youths, I realised, the groups were either drinking or smoking something.
The nation really needs to create an army that will help in the relaying of the dangers of drugs alcohol and other substance of abuse information to this young generation as they are cutting their lives and their future short. Let’s take a walk and look at what happens in the life of a young person once they indulge in drugs, alcohol and substances of abuse. Young people have a lot going on, their bodies are changing and their brains still developing and all different kinds of hormones are running rampant, testosterone and oestrogen are kicking in and changes are occurring on the mental, spiritual and neurological side. With that in mind we can see how it can be harmful to young people when addictive and mind altering chemicals are brought into the picture.
Taking a young person who still has a developing body and mind and adding to that developing body is the same as taking a match, lighting it and holding it over a tank full of petrol, it’s a terrible explosion just waiting to happen. It has also been noted that prescribed mind altering drugs or medications have a similar effect on a developing body and mind. We see the sorry sights of our young persons that have exposed themselves to drug, alcohol and other substances of abuse.
Young people are poised in a very unique position of their lives, their transition from childhood to adulthood, it’s a volatile time, and as these substances have a powerful effect on a fully grown adult, their effects are amplified when it is a young person experimenting with substances, even if they are prescribed, simply because their bodies and minds are in such an unguarded, not yet fully developed stage.
Drug, alcohol and substance abuse at any age should be avoided, and young persons should be protected. The risk factors for adverse long term use that come from recreational experimentation at a young age are simply too dangerous.
Our current adult generation needs to do its best to ensure that the younger generation does not walk the path of substance abuse; this has to be the key approach going forward.
I urge the powers that be to look into this with consideration and also our stakeholders to be actively involved in securing our future generation from perishing. Join the Rechabites in their programmes in building drug-free healthy and productive communities.
Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist. For more information and help call or WhatsApp 00263772399734 or email [email protected]