Join our whatsapp news group:
ILLICIT drugs and substances to the tune of $4 billion were recovered by police countrywide under the operation “No to Dangerous Drugs and Illicit Substances” between January 1 and September 14 this year.
At least 5 367 people, including 877 women, have been arrested to date of which 1 030 have been referred to court for prosecution.
According to figures released by the police, 4 337 people paid fines at various police stations after being found in possession of illicit drugs or substances during the period under review.
Of the total number of people arrested, 4 307 were under the age of 35, consisting of 3 646 males and 661 females.
A total 4 514 drug users were also arrested under the operation.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said 81 drug and substance hubs — commonly referred to as “bases” — were destroyed across the country during the operation.
“A grand total value of $4 010 452 680 has been recovered,” he said.
About 29,5 tonnes of crystal meth (commonly known as “mutoriro”) worth $1 770 000 were recovered.
Cocaine weighing 1,73kg valued at $969 920 000 was also recovered.
Khat, heroine and ecstacy (which are classified among the most dangerous drugs) with a combined value of $22 896 000 were also recovered during the operation.
Police said 790 plants of dagga, 6806 (100ml) bottles of Broncleer, 5 097 (100ml) of adco-salterpyn, 30 (100ml) histalix were recovered.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on drugs and substance abuse held at the United Methodist Church in Harare yesterday, Asst Comm Nyathi reiterated that they will not leave any stone unturned in the fight against drug and substance abuse.
He said there are no sacred cows when it comes to the fight against drugs.
“On the issue of police being involved in drug peddling, no one is sacred.
“I can speak with certainty that police officers have been arrested, and we fired them.
“Some of them were even acting as a part of the syndicates.
“If there is any police officer out there who is peddling drugs, give us the names and I can assure you we will take action,” he warned.
“This applies to any members of the security services. Give us names and we will take action.
“We want people to reports such cases. Even if there is a minister involved in drug peddling we arrest, then what more of a police officer?
“Drug abuse is a security threat, a social menace, an economic and a social ill. If we do not act as a country, it is a problem that affects issues to do with other crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping.”
Asst Comm Nyathi expressed concern over some influential members of society who interfere with their operations in a bid to protect their colleagues who would have been found on the wrong side of the law.
He said the church has a role to play in the fight against drugs.
“The church has capacity to assist. Sometimes people cannot afford to go to rehabilitation centres because they are expensive. We also need the church to assist us, even in that small capacity.
“We know they might have resource challenges, but we appreciate if they help, even on a small scale.
“We can have rehabilitation or psycho-support centres at church that will help people who will be within the locality,” he said.
Ass Comm Nyathi said the Government has shifted its way of fighting drug and substance abuse to take a proactive approach.
“Government is taking a proactive approach. If there are people out there who are using drugs and they need assistance, those issues must be reported, but not necessarily for arrest.
“In the fight against drug and substance abuse, we are not just focusing on arrests. We are also looking at support.
“If somebody comes and volunteers to say we need assistance, we will support that person without even arresting them,” he
Meanwhile, police have expressed concern over the sprouting of liquor shops around cities.
Asst Comm Nyathi said these liquor shops are being used as drug hubs.
The Government provided $500 million under the drug and substance abuse mitigation fund, as part of efforts by the Second Republic to speed up high-impact activities in the fight against the drug menace.
An inter-ministerial committee on addressing the substance abuse menace among the youths was also set up to undertake operationalisation of the Zimbabwe National Drug Master Plan (ZNDMP 2020 to 2025), and Treatment and Rehabilitation Guidelines of Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder of Zimbabwe (TRGASUD-ZIM).
It was also tasked to identify and upgrade existing mental health institutions, and to improve community-based activities, including establishment of parent support groups and patient support groups.
The taskforce is also expected to regularly review the National Policy on Drug and Substance Abuse, and to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act.
It is further expected to establish a national call centre for drug and substance abuse, which will provide online psycho-social support and related information.