Schools and communities must unite to fight drug abuse: PED

By Ndumiso Tshuma

The Bulawayo Provincial Education Director (PED), Bernard Mazambane, has called on schools and communities to work together to address substance abuse.

He spoke at a drug awareness campaign organized by the Children Christian Network (CCN) in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

Mazambane highlighted the importance of information sharing and education.

“There are management strategies to be used in combination to combat this problem,” he said. “These include providing information through awareness campaigns, educating people about the nature and extent of alcohol and substance abuse, and explaining the addictive effects on individuals, families, and communities.”

He emphasised the need for a multi-pronged approach.

“These strategies should include setting up referral protocols to address underage drinking, implementing drug prevention policy programs, and reducing vuzu parties, which contribute to the spread of diseases through substance abuse,” Mazambane explained. “We will not tolerate those who provide venues for vuzu parties, which facilitate drug and substance abuse and the spread of diseases.”

Mazambane urged communities to develop local solutions.

“Communities should enhance their ability to provide prevention and treatment services for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and substance abuse disorders,” he said. “This can be achieved through activities such as organizing, planning, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services. It also requires interagency collaboration, capacity building, and networking. Building healthy communities encourages healthy lifestyles and choices.”

He also noted that early identification and intervention may help to prevent the drug scourge.

“In managing substance abuse in schools and communities, activities should involve screening for potential users and referring them for preventive treatment,” he said. “Problems should be identified by involving the youth, who know each other well. When there’s a need for a referral, it should be done promptly. After identification, counselling should be provided.”

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