Shocking details of drug abuse in schools

via Shocking details of drug abuse in schools | The Zimbabwean 2 July 2014 by Ruzvidzo Mandizha

Reports by the police on drug abuse are worrying, with more than 100 cases of drug abuse every month in Harare alone.

Statistics from the Anti- Drug Abuse Association of Zimbabwe (ADAAZ) say up to 43 per cent of students know of schoolmates found in possession of cigarettes. This could be your child’s best friend or, even worse, your son or daughter.

Kenneth Moyo was an angry man. Last year, the head teacher of the school his Form One daughter attended had just called him and accused his daughter of the unthinkable.

The suspension letter his 14-year-old daughter brought home said it all.


She had been “found in possession of a banned substance which was also found in the possession of several other students” and “the school was investigating whether she was involved in distributing it”.

It was during the two-week suspension that Moyo got to know the extent to which his daughter – the apple of his eye – abused drugs of every kind. “She downed bronco, smoked cigarettes and mbanje and I suspect she was even into harder drugs,” said the shocked father.

The reality today is that four out of five school-going children are abusing drugs without the knowledge of their parents. According to police, the statistics should be a cause of worry for the entire nation.

But experts warn parents are taking little or no notice. “Some of us are catalysts of these behaviours. We have increasingly adopted a laissez-faire parenting method where we think our children are old enough to make the correct decisions. There is a reason why we are parents and they are children. They need firm guidance,” says counsellor Eunice Kwaramba.

Some parents acknowledge the difficulty in policing their child’s every move.

Give guidance

Whether the children are at home, at school or transiting between the two, it is never easy to keep tabs on what exactly they are doing and in what company. “Parents have come to accept a lot of grey areas in their parenting and this is where the children get loopholes to exploit,” said Kwaramba.

Mary Wamba is a mother of three. She says she tries her best to give guidance to her children, but she can never be sure if it is enough. “It becomes hard as a parent to monitor your children especially if they are into their teenage years. As a parent with two teenage boys in high school, I try my best to monitor their progress and ensure they do not end up in bad habits, such as abusing drugs and alcohol,” she said. “I do not give them huge amounts of money. I only give what I feel is enough for them to sustain them till when I am able to visit them in school. This is one way of ensuring that they do not easily access illegal substances. As parents, we have a big role as far as the fight against drug abuse among students is concerned,” she added.

Bronco only $2

Many boarding schools end up stipulating the amount of money a parent can give as pocket money. But today a child can access several illicit drugs for a fraction of that amount. For the price of a loaf of bread, a cheeky student can get two portions of marijuana. With $2, another can get Bronco or access cheap intoxicating liquor.

Is money really the issue? ADAAZ says a lot more than pocket money contributes to the problem, including the schools’ set up and rules and regulations. Some schools are not strict enough while others are located in environments that enable drug abuse – such as near bars.

Loice Nhengo, a psychiatrist, believes the problem of under-age drug abuse goes deeper than school policies. “The fundamental thing is to address the psychological pressures the student is undergoing. Seldom would you find a student waking up and downing a whole bottle of alcohol just for fun. In almost all cases there is an underlying psychological issue,” she said.

These may include abuse, stress over school performance or the experiencing of a traumatic life episode. “For instance, children who have undergone some form of sexual abuse are more likely to develop a drugs-related disorder,” added Nhengo.

Not supportive

Despite the recognition of devastating effects of drugs and alcohol on students, many schools have not instituted measures to prevent the onset of alcohol and drug consumption in schools. But homes and communities where students come from have not been supportive either.

Although most schools conduct searches on opening day, most students still beat the system. They are introduced to drugs and alcohol through many ways including peer pressure, the desire to experiment, cheap and accessible drugs and alcohol, the environment both at home and school, poor role models from parents among other factors.

“Students conceal alcohol and drugs in drinks, powdered milk and even detergents. Some students mix alcohol in juices by extracting some part of the juice from the bottle and pour in the alcohol such that there is a higher percentage of alcohol in the bottle.

“Some drugs even pass as sweets or chewing gum, some are put in the back side of the actual toothpaste and the tube carefully sealed back into its normal shape and in sanitary towels. Some students go as far as creating a hole in bar soaps and hiding the drugs in there,” explains Ntakuka.

Highly addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine also make their way past school authorities to the students via school staff.

Investigations revealed that some drugs such as cocaine and mbanje are stocked in margarine containers and inside torches aimed at the student market. Alcohol is also smuggled in bottles of liquid detergents.


  • comment-avatar
    publicprotector 8 years ago

    As a former operative against drugs in schools, the finger also needs to be pointed at teachers who have no anti drugs expertise or training and tend to cover up drug abuse to protect the schools repute.
    By example if a child who normally gets C’s starts getting A’s the teacher congratulates and writes a complimentary report to the parents. Factually such a change is likely to be an addiction to ephedrine a class A drug which helps with staying awake and swotting.
    I n one local school there were enough addicts to keep a psychologist permanently employed for her lifetime without action from the teaching staff.

  • comment-avatar
    zanupf fear me 8 years ago

    The drugs help the underaged in prostitution with well known zanupf rogues. It helps to numb the experience when being abused by zanupf scoundrels parked loitering in looted luxury cars outside schools. Zanupf has broken our society as well as economy