Shoes on power lines…. To those uninitiated in life in the hood, this might seem like an enigmatic gesture… but to those in the know, its GPS coordinates to indicate a Jazzman is nearby.
And no this Jazzman won’t play you a jazz song, this Jazzman deals in drugs, how much can you afford? Drug abuse amongst the youth in Zimbabwe is a pandemic that’s a ticking time bomb. Drinking is bad enough looking at the illicit brews being sold on the streets, even cannabis seems tame compared to the hard drugs people are dabbling in the pursuit of cheap highs.
Ever wake up and find that your outside light bulb is missing? You don’t know if burglars stole it so they could do their nefarious business under the cover of darkness. Then you hear stories of people getting high on the powder coating the light bulbs, but that isn’t entirely the full story. The light bulbs just happen to be the perfect shape and size to make improvised bongs to smoke crystal meth.
Crystal Meth also known as guka or mutoriro seems to be the fastest-growing drug trend in Zimbabwe amongst the youth. It’s still a young practice (less than 3 years of common street use) that there aren’t typical meth heads that can be used as a yardstick to effectively show the chronic effects of meth use.
One of the effects of crystal meth is a restless energy which drives away the need to sleep, consequently, there’s a nightlife ecosystem, where abandoned places, suddenly teem with life in the graveyard hours, while regular folks are sleeping away. During the day you would never know that seemingly innocent residences transform into dens of iniquity to cater for the restless night walkers.
If this sounds like news to you, I would tell you that a few months back I would have also been shaking my head in disbelief that things like that don’t happen here, until someone close to me had a crystal meth-induced psychotic break. Suddenly I had a crash course into the signs and symptoms of crystal meth addiction and see first-hand how a meth high can last for three days.
Signs of meth addiction
Physical symptoms of meth addiction:
Increased heart rate and body temperature
Rapid eye movement
Uncontrollable and erratic twitching
Damage to the mouth, teeth, and gums
Bruised or scabbed skin
Developing a tolerance to meth – finding that you need to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the desired ‘high’
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t taken methamphetamine for a certain amount of time or try to cut back on the amount of meth that you are using
Psychological symptoms of meth addiction:
Intense mood swings
Paranoia and hallucinations
Feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness
Agitation and aggression
Inability to concentrate or focus
Inability to make effective decisions
Exacerbation of any existing mental health conditions
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Intense cravings for meth
A loved one is currently fighting a losing battle with staying clean and there doesn’t seem to be an affordable rehabilitative solution. Private Rehabilitation facilities can cost upwards of $500 yet the majority of young users can barely afford the $5 to buy the next score which has also seen an increase in meth-related crimes.
While police have a crackdown operation on ending the illicit drug trade, the effect simply criminalizes both dealer and user without working with any other remedial solution such that they come up with creative ways of getting high.
We have a pandemic on our hands.
Week 3 Stories of Awareness WinterABC2022