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Drug and substance abuse among the youths

Blantyre District Youth Officer, Peter Mizedya has said limited access to youth friendly services and limited capacity among health workers to handle youth related issues push youths into drug and substance abuse.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency, Mizedya said the youth clubs are important tools to deal with immoral behaviours among youth though some youth clubs fail to satisfy needs of the youths.

He also observed that  lack of employability skills,  lack of school bursaries and no access to loans among school leavers are some of contributing factors.

The District Youth Officer therefore advocated for provision of effective youth friendly health services to allow the youth to have skills to resist  peer pressure on issues of drug and substance abuse.

“We are providing trainings to peer educators to help address challenges young people are facing. We advocate for provision of sexual reproductive health and youth friendly health services to the youth in the remotest areas of Blantyre,” he said.

Mizedya added that youth clubs are led by peer educator that are tasked to provide youths with life skills that provide adequate knowledge on how they should resist unprotected sex and drug and substance abuse.

Mizedya: Lack of youth friendly services contributes to drug and substance abuse among youths

“The youth are also given firsthand information on how they can prevent unprotected sex and other risk behaviours. Peer educators also provide referrals to other relevant stakeholders if there is a need,” the district youth officer added.

Blantyre rural has 307 registered youth clubs while Blantyre urban has 87 registered clubs that engage youths in various youth programmes ranging from technical vocational skills to sexual reproductive health rights

One of the community leaders at Mbayani Township in Blantyre, Mike Gama said many young people engage in sexual activities, drug and substance abuse among others at early age due to idleness, peer pressure and lack of parental care.

“Youths in my area are engaged in immoral behavior as some of them drop out of school at primary level. We encourage youths to join clubs and apart from this, we also try to create other groups in our community to keep them occupied,” he said.

The local leader added that community leaders work hand in hand with Kabula and Chapima police units to help in addressing issues of drugs and substance abuse after recording five deaths of young people due to drug abuse,” Gama added.

He therefore called on government to provide the youth with technical and vocational skills and loans to allow the youths to engage in small scale businesses.

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