ZIMBABWE Civil organisation and Drug Network (ZCLDN) has urged government to decriminalise the use of illegal drugs, saying abusers need to be assisted rather than punished.
Speaking at a capacity strengthening workshop on illicit drug use in Harare on Thursday, ZCLDN director Wilson Box said energy and resources should be put toward finding the root cause of drug abuse.
He said drug users should be treated as patients and not criminals.
“We can only concur with those who have stated that Zimbabwe’s drug problem is a complex one, with multiple negative effects to our youths, men and women,” Box said.
|Govt urged to decriminalise use of illegal drugs|
He added: “It is necessary for Zimbabwe in its obligations under international law to regularly review its drug policies to ensure that these are comprehensive and focus on the well-being of the individual in order to address national challenges and assess the impact and effectiveness of drug policies.”
President Robert Mugabe’s health adviser, Dr Timothy Stamps, said Zimbabwe was witnessing an increase in problematic drug use along with the related public health issues that accompany certain types of drug use.
“Young people in Zimbabwe have been identified as the most vulnerable section of the population, particularly those from poor or unstable backgrounds, who may be tempted to see drugs as an escape from life’s troubles,” he said.
“Cannabis and glue use among school pupils (largely aged between 13 and 15) in Harare, it was found that overall 9,1% of pupils had used the drugs (13,4% of males and 4,9% of females).”
He said studies had concluded that illicit drug use among adolescents was associated with poor academic performance, violence and unsafe sexual behaviour as well and increased risks of contracting STIs, including HIV and Aids. www.newsday.co.zw