Decriminalise drug abuse, government told

HARARE - A Local civic group has set the cat among the pigeons by challenging government to decriminalise drug abuse and spare jail those found transgressing the law prohibiting such conduct.

Instead, government and the legislature should view drug abuse as a health problem rather than a crime, the civic group said.

Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network coordinator Hilton Nyamukapa said incarceration of those found using or misusing drugs should be outlawed.

“Mass incarceration of drug offenders has led to prison overcrowding in countries across the globe, with such conditions highly detrimental to the health and wellbeing of inmates. The intensive harm that has been caused by criminalising people who use drugs along with other actors in the trade cannot be understated,” Nyamukapa said.

The prohibition of possession, use or dealing in dangerous drugs is regulated by Chapter 7 of the criminal law, the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act.

He said while the Zimbabwean prison services are meant to rehabilitate the prisoners, they had no facilities and resources to rehabilitate drug addicts or those in similar circumstances.

Zimbabwean authorities are currently grappling with drug abuse which has seen thousands of unemployed youths risking their health as they get hooked illicit drugs, some which are being smuggled into the country.