OVER 6 000 people have been arrested across the country since January over drug and substance abuse, government has said.

Information minister Jenfan Muswere yesterday said 677 suppliers, 106 trading bases and 51 liquor outlets were charged for operating without relevant licences.

“Government continues to intensify its response against drug and substance abuse across the country,” Muswere said during  post Cabinet briefing.

“Since January 2024, about 6 148 people were arrested, 677 were suppliers and 5 471 were end-users. A total of 106 illegal drug and substance trading bases were identified, raided and destroyed in Harare, Shamva, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Bulawayo and Mutare."”

Muswere said a further 268 operators were also arrested for violating licence conditions.

“Seventeen outlets had their licences cancelled for violating operating conditions,” he added.

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"A total of 311 countrywide inspections on medicine outlets were conducted and 62 lines of medicines were confiscated.”

Muswere also indicated that Cabinet has also approved the Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan 2024-30.

It provides a comprehensive strategic approach to address the escalating threat of drug and substance abuse to public health, economic growth, national security and social stability in Zimbabwe.

“Cabinet also approved the review and updating of the fine structure of the organisation and directed that suppliers must be prosecuted through the courts and not through spot fines,” he said.

“Establishment of outpatient psycho-social support centres and parenting groups countrywide as well as the purchase of psychotropic medicines and food provisions for rehabilitation centres will be expedited.”

Cabinet also approved the principles for the Zimbabwe Drug and Substance Agency Bill which will see the establishment of an additional security service and specialised Drug and Substance Elimination Agency or National Drug Agency.

The agency will be responsible for the enforcement of laws that deal with drug and substance trafficking, use and abuse as well as co-ordinating efforts of other support services.