World & Community

Zim moves to establish specialised Drugs Agency

By Staff Writer

Cabinet has approved principles for enactment of the Zimbabwe Drug and Substance Agency Bill, paving way for the establishment of a new security service and specialised Drug and Substance Elimination Agency – National Drug Agency.

The agency will be responsible for the enforcement of laws that deal with drug trafficking, including use and abuse of psychoactive substances as well as coordination with other support services. Commonly used and abused substances in Zimbabwe include glue, bronclee, mangemba, cane spirit, marijuana, codeine and methamphetamine (crystal meth) or mutoriro.

Minister of Defence Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday updated cabinet on principles for the Zimbabwe Drug and Substance Agency Bill. Zimbabwe is reeling from a rampant drug abuse problem which is ravaging the nation’s social fabric, while decimating a generation of youths caught in economic and unemployment problems, leading to the crisis.

In a post-cabinet media briefing, Information minister Jenfan Muswere said: “The nation is advised that the prevalence of drug and substance abuse has become a global issue and Zimbabwe has not been spared. “Drug and substance abuse has become a threat to economic development, social harmony, health and wellbeing, public order and security.”

Cabinet approved an Inter-Ministerial Committee report on drug and substance abuse presented by Muchinguri-Kashiri, giving momentum to the process to combat the drug menace.

 “Government continues to intensify its response against drug and substance abuse across the country,” the minister said. “Since January 2024, about 6 148 people were arrested, 677 were suppliers and 5 471 were end-users.

 “A total of 106 illegal drug and substance trading bases were identified, raided and destroyed in Harare, Shamva, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Bulawayo and Mutare.

“Fifty-one liquor outlets were charged for operating without the correct licenses and while 268 operators were also arrested for violating license conditions, 17 outlets had their licenses cancelled for violating operating conditions.

 “A total of 311 countrywide inspections on medicine outlets were conducted and 62 lines of medicines were confiscated. Awareness campaigns on drug and substance abuse are being accelerated targeting adults, youths and children.”

 Government says it is moving to ensure youths are involved in fighting drug problems. “The Youth Service in Zimbabwe training programme will start in June 2024 at Dadaya and Vumba Training Centres.

 “In addition, as a key measure to reduce indulgence, ensuring financial inclusivity is being heightened and a total of US$20 000 has been loaned to youths across the country for income generating projects through the Empower Bank.

 “Cabinet has approved the Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan 2024-2030 that outlines a comprehensive strategic approach to address the escalating threat of drug and substance abuse to public health, economic growth, national security, and social stability in Zimbabwe. “The decentralisation of the Drug and Narcotics Department will be expedited.

“Cabinet also approved the review and updating of fine structure of the organisation and directed that suppliers must be prosecuted through the courts and not through spot fines.  “Establishment of outpatient Psycho-social support centres and parenting groups countrywide as well as the purchase of psychotropic medicines and food provisions for rehabilitation centers will be expedited

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