Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jun 2007
Source: Times Of Zambia (Zambia)
Copyright: 2007 Times Of Zambia


DESPITE protracted Government efforts to rid Zambia of illicit drugs 
and abuse, the problem seems to have been growing from one extreme to another.

Apart from the number of people arrested for trafficking and use of 
banned substances and the stiff penalties in force, more and more 
people seem to be getting hooked on drugs. They are either deeply 
involved in trafficking, or are serious consumers which is worrying.

Year in year out, the international community observes World Anti 
Drug Day with serious messages on how ruinous to life drugs can be, 
but we still do not have a decrease in the number of people getting 
in trouble with the law over drugs.

This year, as in previous years, Zambia has joined the rest of the 
world in marking World Anti Drug Day hoping once again that people 
will take note and the number of people on illicit drugs and brews 
will decline.

The theme for 2007 'Your life, your community, no place for drugs' 
has a specific meaning.

The fight against drug abuse is supposed to start with the 
individuals to rid the community of any dangerous substances.

This simply means that legislation governing drugs and abuse needs 
vigorous enforcement by both local authorities and the communities.

Home Affairs Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, who was officiating at 
this year's World Anti Drug Day in Lusaka yesterday extended the 
fight against drugs to the rampant alcohol abuse in Zambia.

He called for the strengthening of laws governing alcohol 
distribution and consumption to reduce abuse, a welcome development indeed.

General Shikapwasha was saddened by the pattern of alcohol intake in 
both urban and rural areas which begins in the early hours of the day 
and is now threatening national economic development.

Our concern is how alcohol abuse has been allowed to affect the 
economy when statistics show that it has surpassed abuse of other 
illicit substances such as cannabis, cocaine and Khat.

These are startling statistics, which need urgent remedial measures.

While the Government is working on strengthening laws governing 
alcohol and its abuse, we feel the number of treatment centres must 
also be increased.

In countries where drug and alcohol abuse has been eradicated, they 
have many treatment centres.

There are many Zambians who are alcoholic and have no way of seeking treatment.

Alcohol anonymous centres are one way of providing treatment.
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