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Govt escalates drug and substance abuse fight; rehab centres for survivors on cards

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By Staff Reporter


GOVERNMENT has upscaled the fight against drug and substance abuse with rehabilitation and psycho-social support centres for survivors soon to be established to ensure their full recovery.

So far, an out-patient rehab and psycho-social support centre has been opened in Harare and similar centres will be set up in other provinces.

Addressing journalists during the fifteenth post Cabinet briefing in Harare Tuesday, Acting Information Minister, Jenfan Muswere said the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse chaired by Defence Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri had recommended appointment of a national coordinator to spearhead the response to the scourge in addition to setting up rehabilitation centres countrywide.

“Going forward, a National Coordinator will be appointed to coordinate policies and activities on drug and substance abuse.

“Government will establish rehabilitation and psycho-social support centres for drug and substance abuse survivors in order to ensure full rehabilitation and recovery,” said Muswere.

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Cabinet established the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse on April 19, 2023 in order to heighten the battle against supply of illicit drug and substance abuse, mostly blamed on rich and politically-connected individuals.

“The nation is being informed that progress recorded to date includes the following: drugs and substances worth Z$438 654 692 were intercepted under Operation Clean-Up Zimbabwe with 6 156 accused persons being arrested and prosecuted across the country.”

Muswere said assessment visits were made to ports of entry and exits to ascertain illegal drug and substance trafficking, while visits to mental health institutions and rehabs were also done to ascertain the impact of the menace.

“As a way forward, a National Plan of Action has since been adopted. Its key components include that the law enforcement units specialised in drug and substance abuse response be decentralised coupled with equipping the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Forensic Laboratories by the end of the second quarter.

“… that seamless sub-national structures and family structures to heighten the response to the drug and substance abuse fight be established by end of

third quarter of 2023 and that multi-sectoral awareness campaigns be conducted to reduce the demand for drugs with religious leaders playing an active role in fighting the scourge through demand reduction.”

Private sector players were also urged to undertake Corporate Social Investment to deal with the drug problem.

The minister reiterated legal frameworks and policies on drug and substance abuse need urgent review and updating.

He said the Cabinet warned all those selling liquor without the requisite licences to desist from doing so while law enforcement agents were jerked to take action against those in defiance of statutes.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to launch the Nation Action Plan on Drug and Substance Abuse on a date to be advised.