CHADIZA District administrative officer Gerald Tembo says people must recognise the major impediments to development which are posed by drug abuse and illicit trafficking. And the Drug Enforcement Commission says it has arrested 213 people over drug trafficking and money laundering related cases in the first half of this year.
Officiating at the International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking which was commemorated under the theme “Listen First-listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow” at Chadiza Day Secondary School yesterday, Tembo said taking drugs puts the health of users at risk.
“We must recognise the major impediments to development which are posed by drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Cultivating illicit crops and producing drugs threaten the environment, while taking drugs puts the health of the users at risk,” he said.
Tembo said this year’s theme was a challenge to all the people to create an environment that would support the growth of children without being disrupted by vices such as drug trafficking.
“We are therefore being urged to listen first to their cry and help them through the challenges that might threaten their development,” he said.
Tembo said drug use could cause a number of physical and psychological problems.
“Drug use is further linked to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. In turn drug related crime deepens vulnerability to instability and poverty. Government is determined to provide sustainable development alternatives for farmers and their communities as is being witnessed by the implementation of various agricultural policy measures aimed at improving the livelihood of its people,” said Tembo.
And Eastern Province DEC commander Charles Ndulumina, who was represented by senior investigations officer Maxwell Nkonde, said the majority of the people who were arrested for drug related cases were youths.
“The commission in Eastern Province has since January 2018 arrested a total of 213 people with various drug trafficking and money laundering related cases, while a total of 12,860 have been reached out to with drug related information and a total of ten have been attended to for counselling due to alcohol and other drug related cases. The majority of whom are youths which makes it a worrisome factor considering that the youth are the future of tomorrow,” he said.
Ndulumina said DEC had continued to engage various stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, which had already included in their curriculum the effects and dangers of drug abuse, cultivation and trafficking so that children were inculcated with important information.