Senior Court Reporter
Over 30 percent of the young population is reportedly abusing the crystal methamphetamine, commonly referred to as mutoriro, gukafella, ice or glass in street lingo, a court heard yesterday.
Dr Clancy Taiwa Nyamakure, a medical practitioner and forensic tests expert, who is also serving as Assistant Commissioner in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, told Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that although a study on prevalence on use of crystal methamphetamine was yet to be conducted countrywide, he believes 30 percent of youths are partaking the dangerous drug.
Asst Comm Nyamukure said this while testifying when the State led by Mr Michael Reza was making aggravating submissions in a case where Matthew Hopkins (29), had admitted to possessing the dangerous drug.
In admitting possession of crystal meth, which he claimed to have bought in Mbare’s Joburg Lines, Hopkins said he wanted to consume the drug out of curiosity.
He claimed that he only bought it after seeing others using it.
Chief Magistrate Mr Mutevedzi is expected to sentence him today.
Asst Comm Nyamukure said there has not been a study to quantify the prevalence of use of the drug, but from stories written and number of reported incidents, “30 percent of the (youth) population are using crystal methamphetamine”.
“The increase of admissions at mental health institutions and outcry from social media also pointed to the number of people using the crystal methamphetamine,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyamukure said the drug was being smuggled from India, Brazil and other Asian countries.
He said the drug is made in a laboratory using pseudoephedrine which is a parent drug that is combined with others.
“It is classified as amphetamine which contains a chemical structure that looks like amphetamine.
“Medically, it is used as metamorphic in the treatment of obesity or hyper-disorder. It is toxic to the brain.
“The one in the streets is added with impurities, making it a poison.
“It has effects that are physical, psychiatric and economic and social.
“Worldwide it is one of the most dangerous drugs that exists as it is highly addictive, develop tolerance quickly and there is high dependence,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyamukure said once one starts taking the drug, it is difficult to stop.
“You need more within a short period of time. When you try to stop them, you get withdrawal symptoms that are dangerous,” he said
Crystal meth is a psycho stimulant that arouses the brain, leaving one feeling hyper-active.
Asst Comm Nyamukure said it damages part of the brain, causes hallucinations and can cause seizures and can raise or reduce one’s blood pressure, which can cause death.
“It also causes irritability, increase in the heart size and fibroids.
“It also cause a dry mouth because it blocks saliva glance such that they will have dental carries,” he said.
He also told the court that crystal meth causes development of fibres in the lungs, damages to kidney and liver and skeletal muscle, causes ageing easily on skin, eats away the muscle and fat, hence its use in treating obesity.
Long-term users of the drug will have issues with their skin.
Added Asst Comm Nyamukure: “It causes an increased alertness and reduced need for sleep. Studies have shown that people have to go for five days without sleep.
“It is very difficult to rehabilitate someone who has been using the methamphetamine.”
The drug also said crystal meth increases sexual desire, with some people using it as an aphrodisiac.
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