Govt gets tough on illegal drug use
Harare (New Ziana) – Government has adopted a multi-sectoral approach to tackle the rising use of illegal drugs and substances in the country, a Cabinet Minister has said.
The use of illegal drugs such as crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis is on the rise in Zimbabwe and in response, government recently set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to address the problem, which is prevalent among the youth.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said government would adopt further measures to tackle the problem.
“Regarding the response to the menace, a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach has been adopted in order to arrest the situation. This includes intensification of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, reduction of demand and elimination of supply and availability of illicit and over the counter substances and drugs on the market. The capacities, efficiency and activities of the police, justice and customs department will be complemented and strengthened,” she said.
“Cabinet noted with satisfaction the swift response by the country’s security forces which has resulted in the arrest of over 200 culprits involved in the trade of illicit substances and drug lords. These will face the full wrath of the law.”
In the short term, Mutsvangwa said, the operationalization of the Zimbabwe National Drug Master Plan (ZNDMP 2020 to 2025) and Treatment and Rehabilitation Guidelines of Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder of Zimbabwe (TRGASUD ZIM) would be prioritised.
She said government would also identify and upgrade existing mental health institutions that can admit affected children, youths and adults including a dedicated child psychiatric hospital in each province until they have recovered from drug dependency.
“The Operation Clean up Harare Ghetto will continue and be code named Operation Clean Up Zimbabwe and extended to every part of the country with a focus to frustrating the activities of the criminal groups and neutralize drug and substance abuse,” she said.
In the medium term, government will review the National Policy on Drug and Substance abuse and amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act to bring them up to date with the current illicit drugs being abused in the country and to increase penalties on drug and substance abuse.
The plan also envisages the opening of Youth Centres, increasing empowerment opportunities for the youth, strengthening youth and mandating all local authorities to revive and expand the provision of youth clubs and other positive recreational facilities.
“In the long term, the Integrated Skills Outreach Programme which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development will be strengthened, while the public is urged to take advantage of the Non-Formal Education programme under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“In addition, a study to establish the extent of drug use and abuse among youths as well as to identify the causes of the problem in order to come up with precise interventions address will also research, document and disseminate information on drugs and related issues in Zimbabwe.”