Parents Call For The Banning Of Jolly Juice
Concerned parents have implored the government to ban the sale of jolly juice in the country as the beverage is now being used as a drug.
Reports indicate that children as young as six years old are feared to be drug addicts following the discovery of the prevalence of abuse of powdered fruit drink.
Kids from Grade One up to Grade Six in Victoria Falls and Bulawayo have been snorting the powders in the same manner that drug addicts sniff cocaine.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has launched an investigation into the issue.
A sachet of jolly juice costs between ZWL$15 and ZWL$$20 depending on whether one is buying from a tuckshop or a vendor, which means they are easily available.
John Matumbura of Victoria Falls told Chronicle that his 12-year-old son was almost involved in the drug abuse. He said:
I heard some kids talking about it and when I spoke to my son, he told me how some children in schools were doing it.
I alerted other parents on WhatsApp and I was shocked by the number that testified that many children knew about this.
What we then discovered is that children sometimes disappear from home and this could be the time they sniff drugs.
Kids say they just enjoy sniffing. As parents we should monitor our children and know every move, they make so that we minimise drug abuse.
We know our children’s behaviour and it is easy to pick when they start acting funny. We need good communication between parents, teachers and children so that we break the cycle of drug abuse.
Government should help us by banning this product.
Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Jabulani Mpofu said investigations are underway. He said:
We are working on the issue as we are aware that this is affecting children. We have spoken to heads of the affected schools and engaged quite a number of children and other stakeholders.
We want to embark on an awareness campaign to highlight this issue. We are not looking at targeting any kid because we don’t want them to be affected psychologically.
A tuckshop operator Bernard Sihwaba Ncube of Mkhosana told the publication that powdered fruit juices were among products that sell fast. He said:
This is one of the fast-moving products but all the same, we are not happy with what is happening. The challenge is that the powders are readily available and kids can buy them anywhere.
Some parents also buy them because they can’t afford other juices for their children so they rely on the cheaper powders when packing their school lunchboxes. This will make it difficult to control the situation.
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Police fear traces of dangerous drugs are being added to the powders thereby slowly turning children into addicts.
A few years ago, police had to contend with Vuzu parties in Bulawayo and while the vice seems to have been eradicated, jolly juice has opened another front in the war against juvenile delinquency.
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