Review Dangerous Drugs Act, CSO urges govt

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) have urged government to review the Dangerous Drugs Act and Criminal Codification Act, saying they do not explicitly classify drugs such as crystal meth as illegal substances.

This comes as the country has been experiencing disturbing reports of youths, including school children, engaging in alcohol, drug and substance abuse.

Police have also intensified operations against drug abuse where more than 2000 people have been nabbed.

In a report titled Drugs and Hard Substance Abuse: The New Menace in our Public Education System, the organisations said youths were taking advantage of legal gaps as they are now using drugs like crystal meth.

“Zimbabwe is required to review its current outdated legislation to include various types of drugs like crystal meth that are not explicitly covered by the Criminal Codification Act and the Dangerous drugs Act.

“Despite the existence of these regulations, only the scheduled drugs which are named in the Dangerous Drugs Act read together with the drugs named under section 155 of the Criminal Code are construed to be dangerous. This means that drugs such as methamphetamine (guka/mutoriro or dombo) are not spelt out in the Criminal Code or the Dangerous Drugs Act. As such, the Dangerous Drugs Act of Zimbabwe and the Criminal Code are not contemporary with the trending drugs.

“Therefore, the youth are taking advantage of these legal gaps and are now using drugs that do not attract court action such as sodium polyacrylate extracted from diapers because diapers or pads are legal products found everywhere in public,” the report read.

“Hence, there is a need for more focused drug legislation that allows drug abuse survivors to seek help without fear of criminalisation and facing other penalties. According to this line of argument, illicit drug use is a public health concern rather than a criminal issue.”

Drug-related crimes have been rampant in Zimbabwe, once regarded as a transit point for dangerous drugs.

Research has shown that young people take drugs as a stress reliever against poverty and unemployment.

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