Fight against drug abuse yields positive results

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

MORE than 2 000 drug users and peddlers have been arrested since the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drugs and Substance Abuse by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in September last year.

In a presentation to Parliament’s Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS, Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drugs and Substance Abuse, Professor Paul Mavima who is also the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare highlighted some of the strides by the taskforce since its establishment in September last year.

“2 028 arrests have been made so far and these include peddlers and end users. 20 bases were destroyed and drugs worth ZWL14 000 000 seized, we continue conducting sensitisation campaigns and engaging the youths who are the majority of the drug users. To date 557 survivors have been successfully rehabilitated, of those 16 were females while 551 were males,” he said.

Members of the thematic committee also raised various challenges including shortage of qualified personnel and funding to deal with drug abuse.

Five national pilot harm reduction centres to cater for drug survivors have been established so far at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital, Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital, Ngomahuru, Parirenyatwa and Mpilo Hospitals, with plans underway to establish rehabilitation centres in all provinces.