By Staff Writer
ADOLESCENT boys as young as 12 are using sex pills to lure their female counterparts to indulge in sexual intercourse in a risky trend exposing the need for authorities to urgently clampdown on illegal sales of such illicit drugs, the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS (CeSHHAR) report has established.
The must read study titled, National Assessment on Adolescent Pregnancies in Zimbabwe established that Adolescent pregnancy prevalence was 24 for adolescents aged between 10 -19 years. Among the 337 pregnant adolescents, 4.0% (20) had disabilities.
The analysis of adolescent pregnancy prevalence showed that 0.9% of 10–14-year-olds (4/567) and 41.2% of 15–19-year-olds (333/851) were pregnant with the prevalence of pregnancy differing significantly between the two age groups, with older adolescents (15-19 years old) being 71,2 times more likely to be pregnant than very young adolescents (10–14-year-olds).
Below are excerpts from adolescents interviewed during the study who confessed to using sex drugs;
“We buy pills called 7 hours and we use them to spike drinks. We usually buy the Pepsi grape drink to disguise the blue pills and if a girl takes the drink she will just walk for a short distance and she will be aroused and want to have sex there and then. The pill has the same effect as alcohol if you take it, you become drunk, and the girl will initiate sex. She is the one who will start touching you and she will be the one on the urge to have sex and sometimes she will be leaning on you, and you will have sex and as boys love to do it … we get the pills here in the community from vendors who get it from Zambia for $0.50 for ten pills and you can only use one or two at a time.” (18-year-old boy, FGD, Hurungwe district).
We have seen it here where parents take drugs in the presence of their children and some even send their children to buy these drugs for them so in other ways, they are introducing their children to taking drugs and some end up hooked on these drugs.” (43-year-old Pastor, Community leaders FGD, Chitungwiza district).
These drugs were noted to be making adolescents high and thereby limiting their capacity to negotiate for safer sex or non-coercive sex or have the capacity to seek appropriate care such as family planning. Drug and substance use also increased adolescents’ vulnerability to sexual abuse.
“You get drunk, and you end up not remembering anything, smoking especially weed and drinking ‘ngoma-cough syrup’. They make you drink ngoma and they give you an overdose to extent that you won’t be able to see anything, in your eyes people will look like cartoons and you get abused eventually.” (19-year-old girl, FGD, Makokoba district).
“We went to Cleveland dam for my friend’s party, and we enjoyed ourselves, with my friends, drinking beer…then I got drunk.The way I ended up sleeping with him; I don’t even understand. All I remember was that we were drinking beer with my friends.” (16-year-old adolescent mother, Hopley district).
“The other problem is that children are now using drugs and you find children as young as 12 years using drugs. Drugs are sold everywhere especially in places where young people hang out, for example by the school gates and at boreholes and they target young people maybe because they are easy to sell to, I don’t know.” (17-year-old girl, FGD, Hopley district).
“All the drugs you sold in Harare are also here in this village and young people are easy targets. You see girls and boys using these drugs and they think it’s the in thing, but this is what is causing some to fall pregnant because when they have taken these drugs, they can engage in sex willy-nilly without even thinking…” (18-year-old girl, FGD, Bindura district).