‘Declare Illegal Drug Use A National Disaster’

Top Stories Zimbabwe

Donald Mandizvidza

Norton Constituency Member of Parliament, Temba Mliswa has bemoaned excessive drug abuse across the country. 

Speaking in the National Assembly yesterday (Tuesday), Mliswa urged government to declare drug and substance abuse a national disaster and take urgent measures to curb the ‘pandemic’.

“My constituency (Norton) itself is a hotspot” said Mliswa.

“It has to be declared a national disaster so that government can come up with measures to ensuring that there are rehabilitation centres and hospitals to start taking care of them to see how best they can get out of this situation,” he added.

At the launch of the Peace and Development Trust in October, it was revealed that at least 450 000 adults in Zimbabwe have either a drug or alcohol disorder.

MDC Alliance Proportional Representation legislator Lindiwe Maphosa called on the police to effectively deal with the issue of drugs.

“These people (suppliers of drugs) are known in their areas and you just go and ask where can I go and get mutoriro. My worry is these people are not being arrested and brought to book.  Whilst we must help the youths that are abusing drugs, we should also look at the root cause,” she said.

The proliferation of illegal drugs on the streets has been a cause for concern in the past few months.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa also bemoaned substance abuse during his State Of The Nation Address in October. During Covid-19 induced lockdowns, the country has witnessed a sharp increase in the abuse of illegal drugs such as ‘crystal meth’ or ‘mutoriro’. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, lack of employment opportunities has pushed more youths to engage in drug use and also turn to illicit activities linked to drugs.

Speaking at the launch of the Peace and Development Trust Professor A. Chideme-Munodawafa said it is estimated that 274 million people worldwide are taking illegal drugs.

He said Zimbabwe is facing a surge in cases of depression, trauma and stress which has led to increased drug use.