The Sunday Mail
Common drugs such as dagga and cannabis that have been abused for a long time in Zimbabwe, now pale into insignificance when compared with dangerous drugs that are finding their way into the country.Harmful drugs and substances such as broncleer, ZED, Histalix D, whoonga, musambodhiya, heroine, kirango, anti-psychotic drugs and in some instances cocaine, are widely being abused by the youths.
Some of the drugs being abused are medicines that are supposed to be bought with a prescription.
Widely abused drugs are the pills meant for the sedation of mentally ill patients such as chlorpromazine, known in the ghetto as “dombo” and diazepam, commonly referred to as “maragado”.
According to drugs.com, side-effects of both chlorpromazine and diazepam include unresponsive stupor, drowsiness, skin reactions, dry mouth and weight gain.
Chlorpromazine and diazepam tablets are anti-psychotic drugs used to manage delusions, hallucinations, or disordered thought, which in simple terms, is mental illness.
Reports indicate that the drugs are scarce in public hospitals.
The drugs cost between $6 and $8 for 30 tablets in pharmacies.
The same goes for the likes of Broncleer and Histalix D — they are supposed to be bought on prescription. According to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) regulations, “no person shall supply a prescription preparation (drug) other than in accordance with a written prescription”.
By law, pharmacists are required to keep copies of prescribed drugs for a period of five years.
However, checks and controls become flawed when pharmacists are faced with prescriptions written on clinic or hospital cards.
Some of the cough mixtures that are being abused are smuggled into the country and are sold on the streets.
Musombodhiya is diluted ethanol or methanol. Ethanol is reportedly smuggled from ethanol plants and transported in relatively small quantities.
Research shows that ethanol fuel, also known as ethyl alcohol, is the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages but has very high concentrations that can reach up to 95 percent of the content.
Methanol is related to ethanol. However, it is a component in embalming fluids used to preserve cadavers.
According to research, methanol is poisonous to the central nervous system and may cause blindness, coma and death if taken in large amounts.
While whoonga is famous for allegedly containing anti-retroviral drugs prescribed for HIV, it also contains classic psycho-active drugs such as cannabis or heroin and rat poison.
Being highly addictive, it leads to violent side effects such as anxiety, aggression, stomach cramps, slowing down of the heart rate and lungs.
Locally, there are indications that some drug lords as well as hot spots for such activities are known. Sad revelations are that the country is fast turning into a backyard manufacturer of dangerous drugs with local youths emerging as major perpetrators.