HEALTH minister David Parirenyatwa has warned against the use of aphrodisiacs sold in the streets by unregistered handlers.
The minister was responding to a question in the National Assembly on Wednesday on illicit drugs when he was asked by Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele to explain if he as a minister had ever visited the streets where illicit drugs were sold and the action he would take.
by VENERANDA LANGA
“Is it possible to enlist the assistance of the army because young men, way younger than me, whose virility should not be under question, are using drugs, and every airtime dealer, including females, are also in the business of selling these drugs?” Ndebele asked.
Parirenyatwa responded: “It is true and let us warn each other that aphrodisiacs which are drugs meant to enhance your virility, especially among men when they want to sustain or to start an erection, using aphrodisiacs are always not safe especially if you obtain them from streets or from unregistered handlers.”
Parirenyatwa said some people can actually collapse and get heart attacks after taking aphrodisiacs.
“I am not sure about just involving the army, but I think we need awareness programmes in communities, and especially at schools and nightclubs about these drugs because these are the places where people get stimulation,” Parirenyatwa said.
Kadoma Central MP Fani Phiri said the Health Minister must look at the issue of drugs which are causing psychiatric cases, and explain what government is doing to curb the problem of drug abuse.
“It is true that drugs have psychological effects and, a lot needs to be done to assist our children who are now under the influence of drugs and substances like musombodhiya and glue. This cannot be done by the Ministry of Health and Child Care or the government alone, but it needs a collective approach by non governmental organisations, the family and community.”
Sabbina Thembani asked the minister to explain what his ministry was doing to curb the illicit importation of the drugs into the country.
The Health minister said the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe has come up with seven designated ports of entry for medicines to enable control of illicit trade in drugs through porous borders.
“The system ensures that only legitimate importers are cleared at the seven designated border posts. Medicines that try to enter the country through non-designated border posts will be refused entry,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said the real challenge was smuggling of illegal medicines and drugs, but he said the Central Investigations Department Drugs Squad is always on the ground to curb illicit trafficking of drugs and have carried out blitzes at streets and flea markets and brought some of the culprits to book.
“However, the existing penalties have not proven to be sufficient deterrents to repeat or would-be offenders,” he said.