Zim converts Covid-19 centres into drug rehabs

Review & Mail Writer

The Government has resolved to repurpose former Covid-19 treatment centres for drug rehabilitation, with Dr Agnes Mahomva leading an escalated fight against drug abuse.

This emerged after Cabinet met and deliberated on the issue on Wednesday.

Authorities have also arrested thousands and aee battling to cut supply chains of narcotics in the country.

According to the post-Cabinet briefing read by Information Minister Jenfan Muswere, it was resolved: “That all idle Provincial Covid-19 isolation facilities will be converted into multi-sectoral drug rehabilitation centres;
That Dr Agnes Mahomva will be appointed as the National Coordinator of Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Drugs and Substance Abuse.”

“Under the Supply Reduction Pillar, raids and operations against drug suppliers, dealers and peddlers are regularly conducted, and a total of 5 367 offenders were arrested during the period 7th July to 23rd September, 2023,” Cabinet heard.

“This represents a sharp increase on the 4 328 arrests made for the whole year of 2022,” the Muswere said.

A total of 81 “bases”, where drug users and peddlers converge to sell and consume drugs, were destroyed during the period under review.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has established four Drugs and Narcotics Units at border posts, namely: Beitbridge; Victoria Falls; Chirundu; and Mutare.

Muswere said: “These posts at points of entry are meant to curtail the inflow of drugs. Inland posts have also been established at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Victoria Falls airports.

“New technologies like drones are also being used to monitor the country‚Äôs borders in addition to the traditional surveillance methods in order to reduce smuggling and trafficking of drugs.”

Authorities have also clamped down on liquor outlets and carried out inspections of premises, investigations against public complaints and cancellation of licenses. At the same time, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has cancelled 7 licenses for wholesalers and deregistered one involved in the drugs supply chain.

Apart from attempts to cut supplies, authorities are carrying out education and awareness campaigns, rehabilitation services and is seeking to strengthen legislation to deal with the menance.

In a new development, a standalone Government drug rehabilitation centre was opened at Chipadze Detox Centre on 24 July 2023, in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.

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