Njengu a death trap for youths

24 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Njengu a death trap for youths


Mashudu Mambo
Drugs have been one of the major death traps for youths, they have resulted in loss of lives and mental illnesses.

On Sunday, the world celebrates the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking — the day comes at a time when our communities are battling a drug problem that has seen drugs such as the alcoholic spirits popularly known as njengu that has destroyed and killed many people in the country.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alcohol is a depressant drug.

This means that alcohol slows the function of the central nervous system when it enters the body.

That’s why people’s perceptions, emotions, movements, vision, and hearing can be altered when they drink.

Alcohol is often referred to as the most dangerous drug because it’s so commonly abused and its dangers are often overlooked.

Although classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed determines the type of effect.

Most people drink for the stimulant effect, such as a beer or glass of wine taken to “loosen up”.

However, if a person consumes more than the body can handle, they then experience alcohol’s depressant effect.

They start to feel “stupid” or lose co-ordination and control.

Alcohol overdose causes even more severe depressant effects (inability to feel pain, toxicity where the body vomits the poison, and finally unconsciousness or, worse, coma or death from severe toxic overdose).

These reactions depend on how much is consumed and how quickly.

Njengu as it is known in the streets is the type of alcohol which is consumed by many because of its affordability compared to other forms of spirits.

It is also preferred by many because of its level of alcohol (40%).

In a recent case, a man from Gwabalanda died after consuming njengu.

The man identified as Aron was found lying, seemingly lifeless after consuming njengu, and the paramedics confirmed his death.

In an interview, Romio Matshazi, the executive director of Active Youth Zimbabwe, an organisation for drug prevention and rehabilitation, said njengu was a hot spirit that has the same  content as sanitisers.


“Njengu is a hot spirit that came into the market around 2020 during the lockdown period.

It is manufactured with the content of sanitiser which affects the body and people’s health,” said Matshazi.

Matshazi said this alcohol has destroyed lives with some dying after consuming it and others becoming mentally unstable.

“The consumption of njengu by the local youths has led to many deaths and some becoming mentally unstable.

It must be banned because it has destroyed lives of both young and older fellows, and this substance is not registered in the country,” he said.

Nqobizitha Moyo, a psychologist, said the issue of njengu was posing a danger to many youths as it was sold to anyone regardless of their age.

“There is a lot to talk about njengu, the substance is easily accessible to members of the community as it’s sold in the streets, and nothing is done to control the sales.

Most people selling these substances, in the streets, are selling to anyone including adolescents and youths,” he said.

Moyo said njengu had negative effects on people and these effects were long and short-term.

“Njengu, like any other substance, has negative effects on mental health.

These effects can be categorised into short-term and long-term effects.

The short-term effects are impaired judgment, slurred speech, memory and comprehension loss.

The other effects of njengu are hangover, anxiety, weaknesses and shakiness.

“Its long-term effects are addiction and substance-induced disorders such as alcohol intoxication and alcohol withdrawal delirium.

When someone suddenly stops abusing such substances especially when they are addicted to them, withdrawal symptoms set in.

They experience sleeplessness, sweating, poor appetite, convulsions and death,” he said.

Moyo added that there was a need to examine the reasons behind the consumption of njengu to come up with lasting solutions.

“Firstly, we need to know why community members use njengu, and these reasons can help us come up with effective solutions to the problem.

Some of these reasons are the need to fit in, relieve boredom, experiment and escape stressful situations,” he said.

He said there was a need to engage different sectors to deal with the problem of njengu and reduce deaths.

“Multisectoral approaches to addressing this problem are necessary.

There is a need for various sectors to come together to curb the rise in deaths due to substance abuse.

“This can be through anti-drug abuse and mental health awareness campaigns or community awareness campaigns on educating communities about the dangers of abusing drugs and substances.

The multisectoral approach includes professionals such as mental health professionals, doctors, and community leaders,” he said.

In 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and co-operation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Supported each year by individuals, communities, and various organisations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs present to society.

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