Drug Addiction among Youths in Zimbabwe: Social Work Perspective

  • Tatenda Nhapi


This chapter is framed on exploring socio-economic realties embedded in Zimbabwean youths’ addiction to drugs. The chapter uses a Merton critique to explore youths’ addiction to drugs. Furthermore, domains of youths’ drugs addiction and resultant impacts are also analysed. An extensive literature review is undertaken to contextualise the study and draw some insights from both the theoretical and empirical literature that provides a framework of analysis for the study. Documents are reviewed to get a general understanding of the framework on key drivers of youths’ drug addiction. Finally, using social work lens, the chapter offers pathways for continued robust drug addiction mitigation amongst Zimbabwean youths.


  1. African Union. 2013. AU Plan of Action for Drug Control (2013–2017). Addis Ababa: African Union.Google Scholar
  2. Bandason, T., and S. Rusakaniko. 2010. Prevalence and Associated Factors of Smoking Among Secondary School Students in Harare Zimbabwe. Tobacco Induced Diseases 8 (1): 12.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blum, W., N.M. Astone, M.R. Decker, and C. Mouli. 2014. A Conceptual Framework for Early Adolescence: A Platform for Research. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health 26 (3): 321–331.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourdillion, M. 2012. Negotiating the Livelihoods of Children and Youth in Africa’s Urban Spaces. Dakar: CODESRIA.Google Scholar
  5. Chipunza P., and F. Razemba. 2017. Harare’s Drug Abuse Headache. Accessed 8 Mar 2018.
  6. Chirisa, S. 2017. Drug Abuse, Mental Health Matrix. Accessed 12 May 2018.
  7. Chiumbu, S., and M. Musemwa. 2012. Introduction -Perspectives of the Zimbabwean Crises. In Crisis -What Crisis the Multi Dimensions of the Zimbabwean Crisis, ed. S. Chiumbu and M. Musemwa. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council.Google Scholar
  8. Christiansen, C., M. Utas, and H.E. Vigh. 2006. Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood. In Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood Social Becoming in an African Context, ed. C. Christiansen, M. Utas, and H.E. Vigh, 9–28. Copenhagen: The Nordic Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  9. Deutsche Welle. n.d. Waking Up to Teenage Smoking in Zimbabwe. Accessed 12 Apr 2018.
  10. Durham, D. 2000. Youth and the Social Imagination in Africa: Introduction to Part 1 and 2. Anthropological Quarterly 73 (3): 113–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Geyer, L.S., M.P. Le Roux, and H. Hall. 2015. Exposure to Substance Use in the Social Environment: The Experiences of Adolescents in the Tshwane Metropole. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.Google Scholar
  12. Global Drug Policy Observatory. 2014. Country Snapshot: Drugs in Zimbabwe. Accessed 4 Apr 2018.
  13. Hendler, R., et al. 2016. We Are Not Really Marketing Mental Health Mental Health Advocacy in Zimbabwe. PLoS One 11 (9): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holtzhausen, L. 2017. Addiction – A Brain Disorder or a Spiritual Disorder. Mental Health and Addiction Research 2 (1): 1–7.Google Scholar
  15. Honwana, A. 2014. ‘Waithood’: Youth Transitions and Social Change. In Development and Equity an Interdisciplinary Exploration by Ten Scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America, ed. D. Foeken, 28–40. Leiden: Brill Publishers Hague.Google Scholar
  16. Jiloha, R.C. 2009. Social and Cultural Aspects of Drug Abuse in Adolescents. Delhi Review of Psychiatry 12 (2): 167–175.Google Scholar
  17. Kanengoni, A. 2017. Youth in Africa: Dominant and Counter Narratives. BUWA! Journal on African Women’s Experience 8: 1–5.Google Scholar
  18. Masunda, W., and R. Muzarurwi. 2016. Prescription Drug Abuse Among the Urban Youth: Case Study of Gazaland Area Highfields Harare. International Journal of Politics and Good Governance 7 (3): 1–10.Google Scholar
  19. Mbembe, A. 1992. Provisional Notes on the Postcolony. Journal of International African Institute: 3–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ministry of Health and Child Care. n.d. Mental Health. Accessed 12 May 2018.
  21. Montgomery, J. 2004. Individual Adaptations to Cultural Contradictions: Using Non-Monotonic Logic to Reconstruct Merton’s Theory of Anomie. Accessed 2 May 2018.
  22. Ngoma, S. 2016. Youth and Drug Abuse. Accessed 12 May 2018
  23. Nhunzvi, C. 2014. Recovery from Substance Abuse among Young Adult Zimbabwean Men. Unpublished Masters Dissertation University of Cape Town, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  24. Oosterom, M. 2018. YK4D Emerging Issues Report Youth Employment & Citizenship: Problematising Theories of Change. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  25. Plagerson, S. 2016. Integrating Mental Health and Social Development in Theory and Practice. Health Policy and Planning 30: 163–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pufall, E.L., et al. 2017. Education, Substance Use, and HIV Risk among Orphaned Adolescents in Eastern Zimbabwe. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies 12 (7): 360–374.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rudatsikira, E., et al. 2009. Prevalence and Predictors of Illicit Drug Use Among. Annals of African Medicine 8: 215–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance. 2014. Accessed 6 Jun 2018.
  29. Towo, A. 2018. The Need for Scientific Research in the Fight Against Drug and Substance Abuse in Zimbabwe. Accessed 1 June 2018.
  30. UNDP. 2015. Addressing the Development Dimensions of Drug Policy. New York: UNDP.Google Scholar
  31. UNICEF. 2016. Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An Evidence-Focused Literature Review, the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Rome.Google Scholar
  32. United Nations Development Programme. 2018. Consultant: Development of Integrated Training & M & E & Case Tracking Tools for SGBV/HIV/TB Management and Referral Path Which are KP/Youth & Gender Friendly. Accessed 20 June 2018.
  33. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. World Drugs 2013. Accessed 2 June 2018.
  34. World Bank Zimbabwe. 2018. Zimbabwe Country Overview. Accessed 30 June 2018.
  35. World Health Organisation. 2004. Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 Country Profiles Zimbabwe. Accessed 12 Apr 2018.
  36. World Poverty Clock. 2018. Zimbabwe. Accessed 27 June 2018.
  37. Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. n.d. OHCHR Study on Youth and Human Rights Youths in Zimbabwe. Accessed 12 June 2018.
  38. Zinhumwe, C. 2012. The Youth and Unemployment in Zimbabwe. Harare, Building a Future with Decent Work for Young People Harare 29 March.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatenda Nhapi
    • 1
  1. 1.Erasmus Mundus Masters in Advanced Development Social WorkLincolnUK

Personalised recommendations