By James Muonwa
A TOTAL of ZW$2,8 million worth of illicit drugs and substances were confiscated this year as the fight against the vice heightens countrywide.
During a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, Monica Mutsvangwa revealed the war against drug and substance abuse had escalated with police arresting drug kingpins.
A total of 575 people were arrested for drug peddling, of which 192 were suppliers and 383 were end users of drugs and substances.
She also said public awareness campaigns were being conducted to stem the scourge.
“Through effective surveillance, law enforcement agents managed to seize and recover drugs and substances to the tune of ZW$2,8 million. A total of 16 anti-drug and substance abuse campaigns were conducted at various platforms, including the media,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Regarding treatment and rehabilitation, a total of 359 patients were hospitalized between January 2021 to October 31, 2021,” she said.
Mutsvangwa highlighted the ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was implementing a community and social integration programme of survivors of substance abuse.
The ministry, she added, was working with stakeholders who were implementing a parenting club’s strategy which aims to create ease in reintegration once a survivor has been discharged from treatment.
“Resuscitation of family clubs serve as preventive mechanisms as they instil positive parenting through community structures. The ministry through the department of social development utilises the national case management system in the identification, referral and case management of survivors of drug and substance abuse,” she said.
Through government interventions, 97 female and 175 male drug and substance abuse survivors were assisted since January 2021 to date.
The minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima is chairperson of an inter-ministerial taskforce set up to access drug abuse among children, youths and the general public.
The taskforce’s efforts are targeted at reducing harm and demand, while increasing treatment and rehabilitation and engendering community and social reintegration.