Govt scales up fight against drug abuse

The Zimbabwean government is intensifying its efforts to combat the widespread issue of drug abuse plaguing the nation.

Following a recent Cabinet meeting, Dr. Jenfan Muswere, Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services, revealed that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on drug and substance abuse, chaired by the Minister of Defence, Honorable O.C.Z. Muchinguri Kashiri, provided a report. Since January 2024, 6,148 individuals have been arrested, comprising 677 suppliers and 5,471 end-users. Law enforcement operations successfully dismantled 106 illegal drug trading hubs in various locations including Harare, Shamva, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Bulawayo, and Mutare.

Additionally, efforts targeted unlicensed liquor outlets resulting in charges against fifty-one establishments for operating without proper licenses. Furthermore, 268 operators were apprehended for violating licensing conditions, and 17 licenses were revoked due to non-compliance.

Inspections on medicine outlets led to the confiscation of 62 lines of medicines. The government’s crackdown on drug abuse underscores its commitment to realizing a drug-free society.

Concurrently, awareness campaigns aimed at adults, youths, and children have been accelerated. To address the root causes of drug abuse, the government has initiated youth programs. Notably, The Youth Service in Zimbabwe training program is set to commence in June 2024 at Dadaya and Vumba Training Centers. Moreover, in a bid to promote financial inclusivity and reduce indulgence, the government has allocated USD20,000 to provide loans to youths nationwide for income-generating projects through Empower Bank.

Furthermore, the approval of the Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan 2024-2030 demonstrates the government’s strategic approach to tackling the escalating threat of drug abuse. Plans for the establishment of a decentralized Drug and Narcotics Department and the enactment of the Zimbabwe Drug and Substance Agency Bill, 2024, are underway. This legislation will pave the way for the creation of a specialized Drug and Substance Elimination Agency/National Drug Agency tasked with enforcing laws related to drug trafficking, use, and abuse.

Given the significant risk drug abuse poses to an entire generation, the government’s proactive measures to eradicate this menace are commendable.

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