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Zimbabwe’s Codeine Cough Syrup Epidemic


come on so many people are Indians every tiara is down we’ve got a generation to use if the government does not step up [Music] the streets of Harare are full of brown cough syrup bottles a sign of the addiction epidemic currently ravaging the country particularly affecting young people I ain’t got no Missy I’m so good let’s I’m really know that yeah I’m 2016 I started drinking from T so Bedell could take something like four bottles and friends of yours I wasn’t myself I want someone else buy something else the cough sir often of the brand wrong clear contains codeine an opiate that can be used as a painkiller it’s relatively harmless in small doses but can be highly addictive from clear also contains alcohol so when you drink a lot of it it will make you feel both drunk and high in large quantities it can lead to respiratory problems dangerously low blood pressure and permanent damage to the brain heart and liver like I did it because of my friends and I like if you don’t do this I won’t play with you and you start doing it afterwards you you think it’s a bizarre way of life my mother is a widow when she doesn’t go to work so some of the times when we get these jobs you have to go and get some money and bring it home to pay some food since my house I stayed there with my five children my mother of five with my son unfortunately we didn’t pick it up because it was in boarding school my son he’s the quiet type we couldn’t really notice a change in him until last year you know you would come home you would on that couch he’s holding a plate in his hand in your speaking team and is not responding that is what Bron clear does he even went to a stage where he started taking things and selling there maybe two to buy or he is Berkeley or whatever he was taking then yeah a lot of things my laptop cell phones even food she went to that extent one time even run away from home he was not staying in the streets doing these drug things the economy’s in ruins 90% of the population is without formal employment and families are plagued with poverty and addiction back in the 1980s Zimbabwe was prospering but former dictator Robert Mugabe run the country into the ground he was ousted in November 2017 and in July 2018 the country held its first democratic election in four decades but people are still feeling consequences of Mugabe’s 37 year rule we drive to the slums of luffa cosa an impoverished area in the outskirts of the capital here we meet fate he works as a music producer will come from was this is my ghetto when he was younger he lives on the streets and was addicted to bronte today he’s trying to help his friends who are all stuck in a vicious cycle of cough syrup dependency some of my ghetto youths they don’t go to wake as you can see that that’s what they take that’s funky four years ago the government outlawed the sale of bran share the illegal import of the cough syrup especially from South Africa has continued and it’s very easy to get your hands on a bottle even a young child if you ask you what is this bottle he or she can tell you that this blonde key everyone is selling even on the shops there there’s a lot of people were selling these things fatal takes us to the local marketplace to show us how cough syrup is being sold and used on the street for the sake of these guys maybe they don’t find their place to be to the outer so we get into the bar they somebody just come in drinking anything you see soon we’re surrounded by young guys drinking Bron clear [Music] don’t let this is the guys are already high when you drink a lot of cough syrup every day it can cause your teeth to rot and fall out so to protect your teeth they pour the liquid directly into their throats [Music] our long to subside so you feel something like 20 minutes it’s awfully then you need another addition the main reason which makes us to distract this guy with unemployment you don’t have things to do don’t get stressed or get righted about a lot of things I have been seated at home like two years now this one [Music] [Music] today we say about under $250 we make a profit of Adcock Ingram the South African company behind Brahm clear told us they are concerned with the alleged misuse of their cough syrup with codeine and that since the product is not registered in Zimbabwe it’s illegal to export it there they acknowledged that smuggling medicine across borders is common and told us they have internal processes in place to fly unusually high or suspicious orders we want to understand what’s being done to help young addicts so we head to downtown Harare to meet up with Hilton Yama Kappa he works for one of the few NGOs in Zimbabwe actively working to help addicts they are good a number of reasons why the youths actually taking drugs number one reason is idleness some of them cannot afford to go to colleges so it’s a way of coping with the stress associated with it’s hard to pinpoint the exact amount of young Zimbabweans who are addicted to brawn clear and other narcotics the government states that no official studies have been conducted to quantify the scope of the issue that’s why various interest groups have made their own assessments and even though the results vary a lot one thing is certain the number of young people living on the streets as drug users is alarmingly high the information we’re getting from various sources we can say probably more than 50 percent of the youths in Zimbabwe are actually taking drugs and once you hook it’s hard to get help because the only specialized rehabilitation options in Zimbabwe are privately run and unaffordable for most users Hilton tells us how the government handles it if you use drugs you’re a criminal should be sent to jail so here’s an organization we are saying the legal system should actually have some kind of rehabilitation or or treatment we want to ask the authorities about the lack of state-run drug rehabilitation clinics so we drive to the Ministry of Health the treatment for drug dependence is only available in a psychiatric institutions by keeping them in the hospital and then making they’re giving them some some like ume potassium to make sure that they don’t really take the drugs so eventually they forget to take trucks Hilton Yama Kappa does not think that jail sentences and psychiatric treatment works the NGO is pushing for the government to run rehabilitation clinics where people can receive proper result-oriented treatment the problem of actually putting those people in mental institutions is that kind of treatment is actually detoxifying them it’s not actual treatment because you had detoxify today and tomorrow we are also craving for drugs so that is not the proper treatment we want a proper treatment where actually the drug there is gradual treatment until the and recovers in Bob wins pretend to be conservative and they don’t want to openly talk about those things so going forward we’ve got a generation to use if the government does not step up and some Bob wins themselves don’t step up to try and find the solution to dealing with this drug problem that is peddling our nation my way forward to leave all that was to Dumbo my best friends closed myself in my bedroom like when I started being serious in my music I had no time for for drugs and some heritage so that’s what maybe lose my interest in drugs I have four siblings and like all of them they are looking up to me now for the futures to be someone better like a source of inspiration to the youth susyvic asha found a purpose in making music and hands the way out the thousands of young Zimbabweans are still in the claws of addiction but to treat the root cause of Zimbabwe’s cough syrup’ abuse the lack of opportunities for the country’s youth it will take real political change that offers them future prospects I am the worst young to be winner huh yeah young nigga from zoom puppy newest idea oh yeah five years from the line I becoming dust’ ish oh yeah

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