By Pastor Blessed Mugabiri

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Some experts like Rogers argue that it is the excessive, maladaptive, or addictive use of drugs for non-medical purposes despite social, psychological, and physical problems that may arise from such use.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine gives the technical definition of substance abuse and addiction as: A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours (The ASAM Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine).

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that abuse of alcohol and substance abuse such as marijuana, codeine-containing cough syrups and crystal methamphetamine are killing many of our people through psychological dysfunctions, injuries, road traffic accidents, violence and suicides.

Most of the affected are young adults, studies show that some young people start to use alcohol and substances as early as 12 years of age in Zimbabwe. This significantly affects their productivity, disrupts their families and the progression of their lives.

The report indicates that prevalence of drug abuse is at 57% among youth, the most commonly abused drugs and substances are marijuana and mutoriro

It is the work for the community to help preventing the drug abuse by our children. As a parent I think the first thing is to try and send our children to schools that teaches good morals. Schools does not only teach academics but also morals.

I remember when we were at primary we were taught to welcome and greet visitors and elders. Sending a child to a school that equip our children with academic knowledge doesn’t help us as a nation.

I have realised that because most of the parents’ focus is academics we are receiving graduates who will die before reaching the age of forty. These children would be infected during their studying period.

The community is training children to abuse the drugs again. The reason why the bars were built was to stop children from seeing adults drinking, smoking and misbehaving.

Today’s community does not want to use the facilities that are meant for beer drinking. The parents are teaching their children to smoke and drink beer at a very tender age. They will be doing it for fun but forgetting that it has serious consequences.

A child used to be a child for the community whereby the community will be able to correct and advise the child without consulting the parents. Now days a child belongs to a particular family and can only receive advise from that family only.

The government is letting us down also. Government is responsible of avoiding public drinking and drug abuse. Every day we meet police and drug abusers walking down the streets abusing drugs. Places where drugs are being sold are known but nothing is being done.

I think most of drug abusers are people who are idle. Government must help the youths with employment. The ministry of local government has neglected and eventually allocated recreational land to the residents who build their houses. Some places are now being used as gardens by locals and nothing is being done to avoid that.

Today church is no longer doing its business. Evangelists are asleep. If the church preaches Jesus to non-believers drug abusers will reduce in their numbers. Most of the churches are fighting for those who had made a decision already.

As a believer my prayer is that we may fulfil the great commission. Jesus had made us the fishers of man so let’s go out to the world and bring the lost soul to the Lord. First thing first. The lost souls matter more than anything. Church must rise up and focus on its mandate.

We are where we are today because the church has changed the gospel that changes the characters to the enticing words.

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