Drugs and substance abuse under the spotlight

By Fungai Jachi

WITH statistics revealing that the rate of drug and substance abuse among youths has gone beyond 57 percent, calls have amplified for authorities to target drug peddlers.  

When the nation commemorated National Youth Day on Monday, the theme was ‘Alleviating Drug and Substance Abuse among the youths,’ with President Emmerson Mnangagwa noting the robust measures the government is putting in place to deal decisively with drug and Substance abuse.

Chief Director of Disabilities Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Edmos Mthetwa, who was speaking during the ZBC News Online programme InsideOut, revealed that the major focus is to reduce the supply of drugs.

“There are operations that are being conducted that are meant to curtail drug supply and since January there is an excess of 110 people that have been arrested. Most of these arrests come at the heels of information being supplied by the public,” said Dr Edmos Mthetwa, Chief Director of Disabilities Affairs, Public Services Labour and Social Welfare.

Issues to do with laws that deal with drug peddlers and users were also discussed.

“It is about striking a balance in the laws. It is not always about punitive measures but it is about thinking of the end-users and their challenges. However, punitive measures are critical to peddlers to end the supply chain,” said Brighton Mufakwadziya, from the Ministry of Health and Child Care inter-ministerial task force.

“There is now a need to reform laws We are saying those who traffic and those who peddle they are the ones who are bringing the problems we are facing now so those should be punished,” said Wilson Box the Director of Civil Liberties and Drug Network.

The government has come up with an inter-ministerial task force and a drug fund to deal with the scourge of drug and substance abuse, especially among youths.