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Midlands ups tempo against drug abuse

MARTIN MAWAYA

GWERU-The Midlands Minister of State, Provincial affairs and Devolution, Owen Ncube has ratcheted up pressure on the provincial leadership to step up efforts to curb the drug menace by setting up village committees.

 The move comes at a time when the government continues to battle with the upsurge of drugs and substance abuse in the country.

Minister Ncube said the drug scourge has destroyed the social fabric, hence the need to reach out to local communities to tame this emerging disaster.

He made the remarks during the special coordinating meeting with the District Development Coordinators and heads of government departments on Thursday last week.

“I am also aware that the threat of drug and substance abuse is now an emerging disaster especially for our youths. Accordingly, Government has directed that all Provinces make deliberate efforts to fight this challenge through Drug and Substance Abuse Elimination Committees from Provincial, District, Ward to Village level,” he said.

The Minister added that the respective committees will be operationalized through the pillars that include Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction, Harm, Treatment and Rehabilitation, Community Reintegration and Psycho-Social Support, Media and Communication and Resource Mobilization.

Last week, the Inter-ministerial committee on drugs and substance abuse chaired by Minister of Defence, Oppah Muchingiri Kashiri said  to date 468 drug peddlers were arrested, adding that 402 were males whilst 66 were females.

“Out of the 468 offenders, 36 were suppliers who were referred to court, whilst 432 were drug users and consumers who paid deposit fines.

“Raids were conducted during the period under review and drugs were confiscated,” said Muchinguri.

She said four bases were destroyed, of which 2 were in Harare Metropolitan, one in Midlands (Gweru CBD) and another one in Mashonaland West (Gwayagwaya Shopping Centre).

Minister Muchinguri added that the primary and secondary education awareness campaigns “has reached 16 825 learners (4 155 male and 12 670 female)”.

Meanwhile, a recent research by the United Nations Children’s Fund, in conjunction with the Government, Muthengo Development Studies (MDS), Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN), and Youth Advocates Zimbabwe (YAZ), 60% of school dropouts in the country are a result of drug and substance abuse.

With cannabis, cough syrup, crystal meth, illegal alcohol, pharmaceuticals, crack, cocaine powder and heroin as the most frequently abused drugs.

The research further revealed that peer pressure, economic upheaval, idleness and poverty are among other common drivers for drugs and substance abuse in youths.

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