The Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN) notes with concern the arrest of over 130 youths in Bulawayo during various raids at Vuzu parties in the city.
Among those detained by the police is a 13 year-old boy and 15 girls.
During the raids police confiscated large amounts of alcohol, drugs, condoms and sex enhancing pills, which is an indication that the scourge of Vuzu parties in Bulawayo and other cities and towns has reached alarming levels.
While we commend the police for its swift action, however, as ZCLDN, we don’t believe that this is a lasting solution. Arresting these young offenders will instead put them at risk of contracting life-threatening infections such as Tuberculosis and HIV while in contact with incarcerated hardcore criminals.
Arresting these youths will also toughen them to engage in criminal activities and this will affect their future.
We also note with concern that the traffickers of the drugs found in possession of the youths have not been arrested. We, therefore, urge the police to investigate the source of these drugs and arrest the suppliers who are benefitting from the selling of these illicit drugs while the health and lives of the youths and other People Who Use Drugs are at risk. We also urge local communities to take action and alert the police of the presence of drug traffickers in the communities that they live in.
As the ZCLDN, we reiterate our call for Zimbabwe to adopt a National Drug Masterplan.
The National Drug Masterplan will among other issues decriminalise the use of drugs in order to address obstacles to health, safe communities and harm reduction strategies.
The masterplan would recommend the criminal justice system offer rehabilitation and medically assisted drug dependence treatment is affordable to all and is publicly available at all public health institutions including clinics.
Source: Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN)