Plans to construct a drug rehabilitation centre in Mpopoma by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) are at an advanced stage.
The drug rehabilitation centre is expected to help in the fight against rampant abuse of drugs by youths in Bulawayo, as young people engage in Vuzu parties where drugs and other narcotics are abused.
Drugs have also found their way to schools as unscrupulous peddlers reportedly laced drugs into popcorn, super cools and sweets, which are consumed by children.
In an interview with CITE, Ward 9 Councillor, Doldson Mabuto, confirmed that construction was going ahead at Inyathi Youth Centre to assist learners from Msitheli and Mpopoma High.
“Some of our children have been exposed to drug and become addicts, which is really troubling. It is our wish to assist them and rehabilitate their lives,” he said.
In June, Vice President Kembo Mohadi officiated a ground breaking ceremony for a drug rehabilitation centre at Cowdray Park suburb.
Besides the Cowdray Park centre, Bulawayo did not have a dedicated rehabilitation centre while drug abusers were often referred to Ingutsheni Central Hospital, which is a psychiatric institution.
“The drug rehabilitation centre will have a pool of specialists who will help those affected recover from drug dependency. It will also disseminate correct information pertaining to dangers of drugs,” Mabutho said.
He noted that the council’s vision was to open a rehabilitation centre possibly next year and that the initiative would go a long way to curb high substance intake by learners from the two high schools.
“The use of drugs by learners from Mpopoma and Msitheli worries us. We have since engaged the school heads and senior teachers of both these schools to come with a practical solution on how best we can assist our children.
“I must emphasise that these school heads have been very supportive to an extent that they allow us to address children and do awareness campaigns,” Mabutho said.
The councillor also added that the rehabilitation centre had received full support from the State Minister of Bulawayo Metropolitan, Judith Ncube.
“The state minister recently came to my ward, where we had a wonderful meeting in regards to drugs. She resolved that we need to open a rehabilitation centre to deal with this issue,” he said.
Last year, civic society groups and residents marched in Bulawayo to suspected known drug dealers’ houses in Mpopoma and Entumbane.
They also marched to Entumbane Police Station where they demanded the arrest of the suspects, who they accused of peddling Broncleer, Diazepam and Marijuana among other narcotics to young children.