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Stiffer penalties required to end drug scourge

Stiffer penalties required to end drug scourge

Story by Fungai Jachi

OVER 8,000 suspects have been arrested in relation to illicit drug-related crimes in Harare Metropolitan province since the beginning of the year with some of the suspects having been already convicted and jailed.

Statistics compiled by the Harare Provincial Drug and Substance Abuse Committee reveal that 8,604 suspects who committed drug-related crimes have been arrested since January this year to date with the most popular drug abused being dagga (mbanje).

Chairperson of the committee and Minister of Harare Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Charles Tavengwa said the arrests are not enough as there is a need for stiffer penalties for those convicted of drug-related crimes.

“We appreciate the work being done by the law enforcement agents to arrest the culprits, but the sentencing provisions have to be updated because it seems like the sentences are lenient and culprits do not pay for destroying lives through giving access to illicit drugs,” said Honourable Tavengwa.

Inter-ministerial Task Force against drug and substance abuse representative, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Art and Culture, Honourable Emily Jesaya reaffirmed the government’s commitment to tackle the drug scourge.

“Eradicating drug and substance abuse remains a priority for the government and the committees should take their jobs seriously so that strategies are implemented. Youths are most affected hence the need to ensure we do everything we can to eradicate this problem,” Honourable Jesaya.

Recently, the government announced that all idle provincial COVID-19 isolation facilities in the country will be converted into multi-sectoral drug rehabilitation centres in an effort to assist drug addicts to recover.