Rampant substance abuse disrupts the lives of girls in Bulawayo Metro
By Babongile Gwebu
Sandra Moyo (22) from Lobengula Extension says she got hooked to drugs when she was 18 years old. She says it all started when she attended a party with other young people and was enticed by her friends to smoke marijuana, so that she would flow with the party. She says that incident was the beginning of her frenetic association with drugs which nearly ended tragically.
“When I went to the party, I had no intention of smoking marijuana. However during the party, some of my peers started to pass around marijuana. I did not want to appear out of place, so I just joined in the smoking. After smoking, I felt dizzy and wanted to vomit and then I just had this surge in energy to dance and enjoy myself,” says Sandra.
Sandra says three days after the party, one of her friends who she had smoked marijuana with at the party brought the drugs to her home and she smoked for the second time.
After these two incidents, Sandra says she realised that without marijuana, life was boring. She says there was this urge in her that kept driving her to want more and more drugs and she found herself deep into it.
“I started to buy marijuana on my own. At times I would smoke alone and at times I would join my male friends. At times we would smoke at isolated areas and at times we would use rooms rented by some members of our group. One of my friends was a tenant where he rented a back cottage. We were using that cottage as our base for smoking,” says Sandra.
Sandra reveals that smoking marijuana brought her the excitement that she had lacked before she started to take drugs. She says after smoking, at times she would feel very tired or relaxed or very hungry. She also says that marijuana would also give her the urge to just laugh but at the end of it all, she says she would feel sick, want to vomit or give way to a serious headache.
After a year and half, Sandra realised that she could not do anything without drugs. She says she was now smoking marijuana four to five times a day. She says her life went from bad to worse when one of her friends brought crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth), a highly addictive drug that has quickly proliferated in many communities in Zimbabwe.
“Of all the drugs that I have used, crystal meth is the most dangerous. So, on this day, a male friend of mine brought crystal meth to our base. Crystal meth looks like coarse salt. To use the drug, we took a bulb and attached a small barrel. We then used a gas lighter to burn the drugs,” says Sandra.
Sandra says crystal meth gives energy and it makes the user to lose appetite. She reveals that meth is extremely dangerous because it gives hallucinations and at times it can make the user to commit crimes.
“After taking meth, I began to see things that others were not seeing, like for example, I would see a dog trying to attack me when in actual fact it would only be an innocent child. One can easily harm a child or cause some damage to property because of these hallucinations,” says Sandra.
In 2022, Sandra says she was alone at home. She says her parents had gone to the rural areas leaving her and some tenants who were living in the backyard cottage.
“I was bored and I decided to take marijuana. After smoking marijuana I realised that I also had crystal meth and decided to take it as well. That is all that I can remember about that incident because I passed out and only woke up in hospital after four days,” says Sandra.
Sandra says she was later told by her parents that a tenant had broken into the house after two days of missing her and realising that something was wrong. She says when the tenant got in, she found her passed out and immediately called for an ambulance.
“When I was in hospital, the doctor told me that if I had not been found within 48 hours, I would have died. This was scary for me and I decided to quit drugs. I spend two weeks in hospital and when I got discharged, I decided to start my life afresh. I quit drugs and I am now in control of my life,” says Sandra.
Sandra says she is deeply concerned by the increasing number of girls in her community who are using drugs. She says she takes every opportunity that she gets to interact with girls to inform and educa