There has been an increase in the number of women who use and inject drugs in Zimbabwe over the years owing to a myriad of factors.
The research was conducted by the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN), the National AIDS Council (NAC) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), through funding from the Global Fund and UNAIDS.
According to the report, the total sample of men who use drugs constitutes the majority of drug users at 58.47 percent while women are at 40.59 percent.
However, in terms of people injecting drugs as a percentage of their sub-group, women make up 53.25 percent while men constitute 28.23 percent.
Statistics from Sally Mugabe Hospital Psychiatric Unit also indicate that there has been an increase in drug use re-lated admissions in their unit, especially since the Covid-19 period.
Between January and April 2021, out of 75 admissions recorded, 72 were male and three were female.
In February, out of 72 admissions, 71 were males and one was female.
In March, out of 82 admissions, 81 were males, and one was female.
In April, out of 90, 66 were males and 24 females.
Speaking on the outcome, ZCLDN chief executive officer, Wilson Box, said economic vulnerabilities had pushed more women into drug and substance abuse.
“You find that the majority of women who use drugs are from sub-groups such as sex workers, women in mining and farming communities, mining communities, especially in Mt Darwin, Mvurwi, Bulawayo and Manicaland due to idleness,” he said.
“There is no employment so most end up resorting to sex work since it’s the cheapest and easiest way of getting out of poverty plus availability of those drugs.”
Box added that proximity to borders for places like Mt Darwin, Manicaland, and the spill overs from South Africa in Bulawayo, was also another contributing factor to the increased drug use.
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