‘Drug and substance abuse a national threat’
Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
GOVERNMENT has activated the process of equipping the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Forensic Science Laboratory with the necessary equipment to detect some of the drugs as the scourge has since become a national security threat.
President Mnangagwa has set up an inter-ministerial task force to tackle the issue as the Government continues to heighten the fight against drug and substance abuse.
Government is replicating some of the strategies adopted during the Covid-19 to address the drug menace.
Addressing journalists on last Friday during a Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe workshop, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the impact of drugs and substance abuse is having far-reaching consequences as no sector is spared from the adverse effects of drugs.
“Currently we are fighting the issue of drug and substance abuse which is becoming a security threat. It is affecting journalists, it is affecting police officers, and it’s also affecting both the young and old. For us to fight this menace we can’t win it without the support of the media, which is part of policing,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said Government is in the process of equipping police with modern technologies to ensure that they effectively deal with the issue of drugs and substance abuse.
“One of the activities which the taskforce is doing is the issue of capacitation of the ZRP in terms of fighting drugs and substance abuse. One of the key areas is the capacitation of the ZRP Forensic Science Laboratory so that we are able to analyse some of these drugs which are being confiscated and recovered by the police,” he said.
“I’m happy to tell the public that it is a work in progress for the police forensic laboratory to be capacitated.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said DNA analysis is also being considered in handling drugs and abuse substances issues.
“There are allegations that certain drugs which are meant for treatment are being abused. That is why we want the issue of forensic science to come on board and assist us. We are working with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“People have been talking about the issue of Kambucha, they have been talking about other medicines that are being abused.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said they will also come hard on some of the illegal liquor suppliers, some of whom are blamed for dealing in drugs.
“I’m happy in the last deliberations as alluded to by the Cabinet report which came out this week, these are the issues that MCAZ has been tasked to look into and ensure that tests are being conducted and the country can come up with an informed position,” he said.
“We are also aware that some liquor outlets are operating outside the law. We are reliably informed that some of these liquor outlets are also trading in drugs and we are conducting joint operations with the Ministries of Health and Child Care and Local Government and Public Works to ensure that illegal liquor outlets are closed down.”
Asst Comm Nyathi urged citizens to comply with the country’s regulations and complement law enforcement in the fight against drug and substance abuse.