Nesia Mhaka and Kudzaishe Chinyandura
AT LEAST 1 000 people die annually and 3 000 get injured from alcohol-related traffic accidents, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said. Speaking at Presbyterian Church in Highlands in Harare last week during a function to raise awareness against drug and alcohol abuse, Minister Moyo said most affected were youths.
“In Zimbabwe, 1 000 people die a year from alcohol-related road traffic accidents and 3 000 people sustain substance-related injuries,” he said.
“Many of those affected are young adults. Studies show that some young people start to abuse alcohol and substances from as early as 12 and 13 years.”
Minister Moyo added that alcohol and drug abuse had dire consequences for youths.
“This is significantly affecting their productivity, disrupt their families and the progression of their own lives,” he said.
“Substance use contributes significantly to injury and chronic diseases.
“Harmful use of alcohol is linked to over 200 diseases and injuries with over three million deaths a year worldwide being linked to alcohol use alone.”
He said alcohol abuse also leads to HIV/ AIDS and other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Minister Moyo said Government was formulating policies that will address the problem of alcohol and substance abuse.
“These polices would facilitate a coordinated evidence-based national effort to manage these disorders and to ensure a public health approach to the problem with universal access to care not just for those who can afford to pay for treatment,” he said.