Wednesday January 29, 2020
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Concerned Zimbabwe’s Citizens Start an Anti-Drug Campaign

While that may help, when young people have finished playing, they still find themselves unemployed and in the same conditions

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Drugs, Africa
A street vendor sells illegal and false drugs in a street of Adjame in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. VOA

A group of concerned Zimbabweans has started an anti-alcohol and drug campaign, targeting communities in which unemployed young people resort to drinking and using narcotics to alleviate the stress of not having work. Those involved in the campaign say the solution lies largely with improving the country’s moribund economy.

Fewer than three in 10 young Zimbabweans have steady jobs. Many are idle and see no economic opportunity. For some, that leads to problems with alcohol and drugs.

Church leaders, community leaders, and government officials have started warning youths of the impact of drug and alcohol abuse in Zimbabwe and its effect on their physical wellbeing and mental health.

With drug use growing in Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has called for an all-stakeholders meeting on February 1 to come up with possible solutions.

Zimbabwe’s deputy director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Chido Rwafa, says the government cannot deal with the problem of substance abuse alone.

HIV, Drugs
More than half of the people surveyed who inject drugs said they avoided health-care services, citing discrimination or fear of law enforcement authorities.VOA

“Alcohol and substance use is a rising problem in all of Africa, and also in Zimbabwe, and it has become one of our top three diagnoses that we are seeing in our mental health unit, so it is becoming a problem. We need a coordinated approach to this problem. It is a multi-sectorial problem. We need a combined effort between government, between non-governmental organizations, with the community itself,” Rwafa said.

Youths are susceptible to peer pressure and can easily gain access to drugs, says Dr. Rwafa. Once hooked on drugs, they also become more likely to engage in criminal activities.

This 20-year-old asked us not to film him when he was smoking cannabis. He says drug use would fall if more people could find employment.

“The best way is just to improve our country economically such that all those people loitering in the streets will find jobs and will be focused. We are going nowhere. Even if you are to look (in the streets), there are some other people damaged (by drugs). Fifty percent of youths in the streets, they can not even work. Their life has been destructed by drugs etc. It is not that they want drug abuse,” Mandizha said.

drug
Young people with the Ngoma Yorira Theatre Association get ready for a performance at “Theatre in the Park” in Harare, Zimbabwe, as they campaign against drug abuse, Feb, 2, 2018. VOA

Roman Catholic Priest Cloudy Maganga is trying to reduce substance abuse by youths by keeping them busy and offering counseling.

Also Read: To Boost Revenues Zimbabwe Hikes Traffic Fines

“Within our hall, upstairs we are creating what we call a study center for the young people. We will have computers… We have also started what we call the sports for the young people. We have created a volleyball pitch, we have created also a netball pitch for the young people so that when they are free, during their free time, they can be engaged in sports, everyone here. So at least with that we are removing them from being just idle,” Maganga said.

While that may help, when young people have finished playing, they still find themselves unemployed and in the same conditions youths like Takudzwa Mandizha say make them turn to drugs. (VOA)

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Cannabis Usage Common in Adults with Pain Disorders: Study

Cannabis use disorder more common in adults with pain

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Cannabis adults
Researchers have found that non-medical use of cannabis including frequent or problematic use is much more common in adults who have pain than in others. Pixabay

Researchers have found that non-medical use of cannabis including frequent or problematic use is much more common in adults who have pain than in others.

Since 1996, 34 US states have passed medical marijuana laws and 11 states have legalised recreational cannabis use.

Studies indicate that heavy cannabis use increases the risk of vehicle accidents, respiratory and psychiatric symptoms, and cannabis use disorder.

“Despite this evidence, many people view cannabis use as harmless, and non-medical use of cannabis on a daily or near-daily basis has increased,” said study lead author Deborah Hasin from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in the US.

“In our study, we hoped to identify factors–such as pain–that may increase the risk of cannabis use disorder,” Hasin added.

Cannabis adults
66 per cent of adults now view marijuana as beneficial for pain management, the researchers said. Pixabay

For the findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, research team analysed data on marijuana use from the National Epidemiologic Surveys on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.

The researchers compared non-medical cannabis use patterns in adults with and without pain (approximately 20 per cent of participants in both surveys had moderate to severe pain).

Overall, non-medical marijuana use increased from about four per cent in 2002 to 9.5 per cent in 2013.

In addition, in the most recent survey, those with pain were significantly more likely to engage in frequent non-medical cannabis use than those without pain (5.0 per cent vs. 3.5 per cent).

According to the researchers, the risk of cannabis use disorder was also significantly higher in those with pain (4.2 per cent vs. 2.7 per cent).

Also Read- BP Problems in Youth May Lead to Heart Diseases

Although meta-analyses of cannabis for treating pain show only mixed efficacy, particularly for plant marijuana, 66 per cent of adults now view marijuana as beneficial for pain management, the researchers said.

“Given that about 20 of the adult population experienced moderate to severe pain, this puts a large group of US adults at risk for frequent non-medical use and cannabis use disorder,” Hasin said. (IANS)