ZRP Drugs and Narcotics Units established at border posts
Brian Rungano Temba
Four ZRP Drugs and Narcotics Units have been established at four border posts, namely: Beitbridge; Victoria Falls; Chirundu; and Mutare.
These posts at points of entry are meant to curtail the inflow of drugs.
The announcement was made today during Post Cabinet Briefing by Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Hon Dr Jenfen Muswere.
He also told press that, 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’s borders in addition to the traditional surveillance methods in order to reduce smuggling and trafficking of drugs.
“This comes after the National Committee has been frequently meeting in light of the observed increases in cases of drug and substance abuse.
The meetings cover reports from the pillars over the period 7th July to 23rd September, 2023.
The Pillars of the National Committee are as follows: the Supply Reduction; Demand Reduction; Harm Reduction, Treatment and Rehabilitation; Psycho-Social Support and Community Re-Integration; Media and Information pillars,” said Hon Dr Muswere.
“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. This represents a sharp increase on the 4 328 arrests made for the whole year of 2022.
A total of 81 bases, where drug users and peddlers converge to sell and consume drugs, were destroyed during the period under review.
It is under the same pillar, that ZRP Drugs and Narcotics Units were set at inland and border posts,” added Hon Dr Muswere.
Hon Dr Muswere said, interventions by the Liquor Licensing Board have reduced unlicensed liquor outlets, vendors and peddlers as well as licensed outlets operating outside the agreed terms and conditions. These include inspections of premises, investigations against public complaints and cancellation of licenses. The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has cancelled 7 licenses for wholesalers and deregistered on.
“Regarding the Drug Reduction Pillar, a total of 715 515 people were reached through various activities including public education; peer-to-peer support; guidance and counselling; community dialogues; exhibitions; and livelihood skills and entrepreneurship capacity building programmes.
This was achieved through activities including Higher and Tertiary Education institutions mandatory awareness campaigns, and engaging artists and sportspersons as Ambassadors,” added Hon Dr Muswere.
A total of 1 093 new patients were attended to at mental health institutions. Of special note is that the first standalone Government drug rehabilitation centre was opened at Chipadze Detox Centre on 24 July 2023, under the Harm Reduction, Treatment and Rehabilitation Pillar.
Pertaining to Psycho-Social Support and Community Re-integration, there are two outpatient rehabilitation and psycho-social support centres in Bulawayo and in Harare. Other activities under the pillar include parenting programmes, online psycho-social support services, and research and evidence gathering.
As a measure to strengthen the Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Programme, Dr Agness Mahomva has been assigned to lead as the National Coordinator of the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Drugs and Substance Abuse.
The press was tasked with identifying the network distributors and informing the nation on the types, effects, and bases of the criminal networks of drug peddlers within the communities and expose such criminals.