Government should develop a policy that rehabilitates and treats drug addicts instead of incarcerating them, Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet Dr Timothy Stamps has said.
Speaking on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Harare recently, Dr Stamps urged all stakeholders to unite to help Government in developing such policies.
“We encourage all stakeholders to unite in assisting Government with ideas on how to curb such problems. Let us assist them to come up with policies that promote public safety, scientific research and human rights in the fight against drug use and illicit trafficking,” Dr Stamps said.
Dr Stamps said drug addicts required societal support in as far as rehabilitation and counselling were concerned.
“By punishing them without rehabilitation, we are killing our society, for drug use disorders are preventable,” he said.
Dr Stamps said the most commonly used drugs in Zimbabwe included marijuana, histalix, cocaine, bronclear and ecstacy. He said these hade caused havoc in many families and communities.
“Let us not forget that cases of sexual violence, domestic violence, HIV and AIDS and road crashes are perpetuated by improper use of drugs,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Harare Acting Mayor Mr Joshua Nyatsuro urged parents to watch what their children eat and drink, where they spend their time and the people they associated with.
Mr Nyatsuro said they needed to take the fight against drug abuse into schools.
“We need to nip this menace in the bud and ensure that the young generation grows up to be mature and responsible citizens.” Mr Nyatsuro said.
The commemorations were held under the theme “The support, Don’t punish”.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Zimbabwe Institute of Drug and Alcohol Combating, Ms Ernestine Nhapi, said youths needed to be empowered to lead rather than follow in combating drug abuse.
“The rights of the youth to influence programmes that are targeted at them must be recognised as fundamental to the success of any youth-orientated programme such as those being provided by the drug abuse organisations,” Ms Nhapi said.