HomeSportNGO castigates ‘sensationalised’ coverage on drug abuse in Zimbabwean football

NGO castigates ‘sensationalised’ coverage on drug abuse in Zimbabwean football

BY SPORTS REPORTER

THE Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN) has called for responsible reportage on issues related to drug abuse, criticising the recent coverage of claims of rampant drug abuse in local football.

ZCLDN is a non-governmental organisation that advocates for effective strategies to  address problems associated with use of drugs in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo City coach Philani Ncube stirred a hornet’s nest following his claims that 80% of soccer players in the country take drugs, especially broncleer, a prescription cough syrup that contains a combination of alcohol and codeine.

Ncube made the sensational claims while addressing journalists ahead of the high profile clash against Harare giants Caps United in Bulawayo last week.

ZCLDN believes the coverage on Ncube’s comments was misleading and stigmatising.

“As Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network, an organisation that advocates for the effective strategies for addressing problems associated with use of drugs in Zimbabwe, we believe that the story could be misleading and stigmatising… By claiming to know one of the players taking drugs, there is some form of stigmatisation. At ZCLDN, we believe the media can responsibly report on drug/substance use through fact-checking and highlighting risk-factors and the damage drug/substance use cause in society without sensationalising,” ZCLDN said in a statement.

“Reporting on drug or substance use requires sensitivity and responsibility from journalists and the media. The issue of drug use should not be sensationalised or glamorised as was the case of the story in question which was titled: “80% of Zim players on drugs”.

ZCLDN added: “Zimbabwe does not have official data on drug or substance use because a population size estimate has never been done before although anecdotal evidence points to a lot of illicit drug use on the ground in the country. ZCLDN is working with relevant authorities to come up with data on drug and substance use in Zimbabwe, which in future could be used in areas of programming, advocacy and news reporting.”

Illicit drug use in Zimbabwe has reached alarming levels and is affecting a lot of people. According to the World Health Organisation, prevalence of drug Abuse in Zimbabwe is 57 %, 43% being among youths and 14% among adults. The country also does not have public institutions dedicated to rehabilitating drug addicts leaving rehabilitation in the hands of very few private players whose costs are inhibitive.

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