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Over 6000 arrested as govt ramps up drug and substance abuse fight

The government has revealed that over 6 148 have been arrested in the past four months for supplying and using drugs and substances as it intensifies its response to the scourge.

The chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse, Hon Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri presented a report to cabinet highlighting the achievements and future strategies to address this pressing issue.

A total of 6,148 individuals have been apprehended, including 677 suppliers and 5,471 end-users since January 2024.

During the post-cabinet briefing Information minister Jenfan Muswere said, “Government continues to intensify its response against drug and substance abuse across the country.

“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”.

Government-led awareness campaigns targeting adults, youths, and children are being ramped up to educate the public about the dangers of drug and substance abuse.

The Empower Bank provided US$20000 in loans to youths across the country for income-generating projects as this will help tackle the rampant abuse of drugs caused by idleness and unemployment among others.

“In addition, as a key measure to reduce indulgence, ensuring financial inclusivity is being heightened and a total of USD20 000 has been loaned to youths across the country for income generating projects through the Empower Bank”, added Muswere.

The cabinet also approved the Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan for the year 2024 where the Drug and Narcotics Department will be expedited, a new fine structure set to drop for drugs and substance abusers, additional to that government to establish outpatient Psycho-Social Support Centers and parenting groups across the country.

“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 decentralization of the Drug and Narcotics Department will be expedited. The cabinet also approved the review and updating of the fine structure of the organization and directed that suppliers must be prosecuted through the courts and not through spot fines.

“Establishment of outpatient PsychoSocial Support Centers and parenting groups countrywide as well as the purchase of psychotropic medicines and food provisions for rehabilitation centres will be expedited”.

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