By Theophilus Chuma
DRUG peddlers are set to face the full wrath of the law as the government moves in to combat the scourge of substance abuse among youths.
A chilling warning has been issued by the government against organised syndicates pushing drugs among vulnerable youths.
Authorities are racing to review the Dangerous Drug Act which will come with stiffer penalties for offenders, according to a position presented by the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Drugs at the National Youth Day celebrations held in Harare this Monday.
“The task force has made several recommendations including stiffer penalties for offenders. Those who provide our youth with drugs should rot in jail,” said Professor Paul Mavima, the Chairperson of the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Drugs.
In their quest to line their pockets, drug dealers are leaving a trail of destruction among youths, with revelations of increasing cases of
sexually transmitted diseases.
“We have witnessed a spike in STIs including HIV cases among the
youths which could be attributed to the abuse of drugs. Such kind of behaviour reflects badly on the country,” said Senator Oliver Chidawu, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Harare Metropolitan Province.
Youths know their future is under siege and are rising in full force against the dark pandemic that is robbing many of their future.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga noted that battle is being fought from all ends, with the government leading from the front.
“There is a need for us to relentlessly educate our youths to safeguard against the scourge of drug abuse which is increasing at an alarming level among the youths,” said Vice President Chiwenga.
Experts and youth representative bodies have also proffered their recommendations.
“There is a need to enhance psychosocial support for the youths and this entails creating more interactive sessions both at the family level and within the education sector. This way we can be able to effectively fight this vice,” said Sibusisiwe Marunda, Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative Country Director.
To help deal with increasing cases of drug abuse in the country, the government says it will strengthen its focus on equipping communities to deal with drug abuse and come up with programmes to assist recovering drug addicts.