Drug Addicts Find Going Tough As Lockdown Cuts Supply Chain

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By Staff Reporter

A HIGH number of people who use drugs (PWUDs) in Zimbabwe and are addicted to various toxic substances are reported to be facing serious health complications as they fail to access supplies they rely on daily due to the 21-day lockdown against Covid-19.

Some in high-density suburbs of Harare are reported to be playing “hide and seek” as they leave their homes, but supplies from traditional sellers are also reported to be dwindling.

PWUDs are also a danger as they share drugs which is another risk of spreading COVID-19.

Wilson Box, the director of Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network, an organisation that advocates PWUDs to access health and rights, told that all was not well in the drug users’ community as the 21-day lockdown entered its third week this Monday.

“Major challenges include social welfare like food mainly because before the lockdown, PWUDs could spend the whole day intoxicated and could not mind much about food,” he said.

“Now that there is a lockdown and movement is restricted, they are complaining to us that they need money to buy food. The other issue is that the non-availability of drugs because of the lockdown, has created recurring hangovers with some complaining of having constant headaches and we have recommended that they seek medical attention at their nearest public clinics for primary health care.”

Box said his organisation and government could not do much to help PWUDs as funding was not available.

“We have also stopped doing home visits that we used to carry out to monitor our members due to COVID-19. However, we have developed a flier to assist PWUDs on how to safeguard themselves against this virus,” he said.

“However, I am happy to say that most members of our support groups across the country have heeded to the call to stay at home. Also the heavy fines of up to $500 that one has to pay if found with drugs are discouraging them to move around and seek drugs.”