Govt sounds alarm on drug abuse Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Sithembiso Nyoni h

The Government has sounded deep alarm at the availability of some illicit drugs and harmful substances in ordinary supermarkets and grocery shops, saying this was worsening the problem of drug abuse, particularly by youths and adolescents.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Industry and Commerce Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni said government will step up the fight against drug and substance abuse through the Consumer Protection Commission and Trade Measures. She described as a “sad development” cases where some of the illicit drugs and substances were readily obtainable in local retail shops.

“My Ministry is mandated to improve consumer welfare and economic growth through the Consumer Protection Act [Chapter 14:44], which inter alia, is meant to protect consumers from the consumption of unsafe and hazardous products including illicit drugs/alcoholic beverages illegally manufactured and some imported into the country,” she said.

“It is equally sad to note the negative effects of these drugs has resultantly led to health-related problems, academic failures on the young generations, poor peer relationships and crime related activities.

Sadly, I am informed that, recently, in Bulawayo, a juvenile was stabbed to death over a minor dispute that could have been resolved amicably,” she said.

Nyoni urged manufacturers of alcoholic beverages to adhere to Statutory Instrument 25 of 2001 on Food and Food Standards (alcoholic beverages) as well as the Trade Measures Act [Chapter14:23] in order to protect consumers from consumption of unsafe and hazardous goods.

She also implored supermarkets and grocery shops to desist from stocking and trading illicit alcoholic beverages, most of which is imported.

“The Ministry shall be engaging responsible authorities, including Standards Association of Zimbabwe to investigate the contents of these illicit alcoholic beverages in order to fully inform the consumers. On its part, the Ministry will intensify monitoring and investigative activities through the Consumer Protection Commission and Trade Measures to curb such practices,” she said.

Nyoni said the whole government, not just her ministry, would be involved in tackling the issue of illicit drug and substance abuse in the country. — New Ziana

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