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Stakeholders endorse drug abuse strategy

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

Stakeholders have endorsed the newly-launched Zimbabwe National Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan, saying the strategy will significantly enhance efforts to combat the social ill.

The plan’s comprehensive approach has garnered widespread support, with stakeholders from various sectors recognising its potential to make a meaningful impact in addressing the drug and substance abuse menace.

“This plan is decisive in the sense that it’s a multi-stakeholder approach which entails that the Zimbabwe Republic Police will not be working alone as we enforce the law as we enforce this plan. The Zimbabwe Republic police will be working together with other relevant stakeholders in terms of effecting arrest, in terms of conducting awareness campaigns and also ensuring that the issues of rehabilitation take centre stage.

“This entails that as the plan has been launched, the ZRP will have to ensure that whatever activities are being conducted are done in a multi-sectoral approach. So this is the basis of the whole of societal approach, and government approach, which has been alluded to by the President,” said National Police Spokesperson, Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

“I think the launch is a momentous thing in this country because it sets out the plan of what every player can do in the space of drug and substance abuse. As Pamumvuri, we are guided clearly by this plan, we would like to strengthen our interventions in demand and reduction that is where we have seen a lot of value in this fight. Young people need to be educated as early as possible in life. So we have partnered with grassroots soccer, the Ministry of Health and WHO to set up a sport-based adolescent mental health programme.

“Supply exists because there is demand. The moment we curtail demand you then lessen the need for the supply, so it is very important that in this fight against drug and substance abuse, we educate young people on healthy coping mechanisms. A lot of people who abuse drugs have a drug use solution. The solution needs to come from something else that is not drugs or alcohol,” explained Jacob Shamuyarira of Pamumvuri.

VIKAZ Harare provincial chairperson, Mrs Memory Revesai weighed in, “I believe that the plan is a very noble programme concerning the pandemic that we are facing as a nation. It is going to involve everyone because this is no longer an individual problem as it is now affecting even from the community roots up to the corporates. So we need this plan so that we will be able to achieve the 2030 vision as a country.”

Veteran broadcaster, Amai Rebecca Chisamba spoke on the need for society to come together to fight the scourge.

“All this can be sorted if we put all hands on deck, but we as a society are also at fault. We need to call a spade a spade and not romanticise this vice. Let’s approach this issue head-on. The other thing is that these drugs are coming from the community and people don’t want to disclose the names of these people. Let’s name and shame them,” she said.

The plan is premised on seven critical pillars, including supply reduction, demand reduction, community reintegration, policy and legal enforcement, media and communication, resource mobilisation, and economic strengthening.

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