Today, the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network held a breakfast roundtable meeting in Harare with government officials, police and officials from several non-governmental organisations on the National Drug Control Masterplan and the way forward.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is currently in the process of adopting a national masterplan on drugs in response by the government to find a solution to challenges posed by the abuse of drugs and alcohol and the trafficking of illicit drugs in Zimbabwe.
Participants were drawn from the health ministry, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Criminal Investigations Department, National AIDS Council, Zimbabwe Youth Council, church and People Who Use Drugs.
In her address, Dr. Chipo Rwafa from the health ministry’s mental health department said since 1980, Zimbabwe had seen a gradual increase in drug related cases.
“There is need for a national coordinated approach to controlling the alcohol and substance use problem in Zimbabwe with the aim to; preventing, reducing supply, reduce demand in communities and treating those affected,” Dr. Rwafa said.
She said 50% of patients admitted to mental health services, test positive for cannabis use while 20% admit to abusing codeine based cough syrups like Broncleer and Histalix. At least 10% of the adult male population admitted to binge drinking compared to 1% females.
Other worrying data was the children as young as 12 years and in primary school started alcohol and substance abuse.
Dr. Rwafa urged alcohol drinkers to consume seven pints a day spread over one week and have two days of rest per week to rest the liver.
She said by adopting the Drug Masterplan allow treatment service for substance abuse more accessible to everyone, develop and promote laws that are protective of the communities that we live in.
Wilson Box, the ZCLDN director said it was good news for People Who Use Drugs that the Drug Masterplan was undergoing review.
“I want to urge the government to share the document with stakeholders from the church, youths, NGOs, lawmakers and other interested parties before it is adopted,” said Box.
Source: Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN)