Drug abuse still challenge in Zanzibar- authorities say

ZANZIBAR: THE Zanzibar Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (ZDCEA) has said that drugs’ abuse and trafficking is still a problem in the Islands.

The authority made statement following an operation that enabled seizing of various types of drugs estimated to weigh 125 kilogrammes including heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis and hash. Updating journalists about the war against drugs in Zanzibar, ZDCEA Commissioner General (CG) Col Buruhani Zuberi Nassoro said the above data follows the operation conducted in January this year in various areas of the Unguja West districts.

“During the operation last month, 19 suspects were arrested, while seven cars, two boats, two satellite phones, one GPS, one laptop, one iPad were seized, and eight houses linked in the drug business and various documents were identified,” he said.

Mr Nassoro said the confiscated drugs would have produced more than 6.2 million pellets for Zanzibar with a population of 1.8 million. He noted that among the seized drugs, is methamphetamine, which is a new type of drug and is in the group of stimulants similar to cocaine that are in the form of tablets, powders or granules like salt.

“Methamphetamine is produced in a laboratory by mixing with chemicals. This drug is dangerous for the user’s health because of its side effects and not easily treated,” he said adding that the seized drugs is the highest ever since the Glorious Revolution of 1964.

Giving further details about the situation of drugs in Zanzibar, Col Burhani said in 2023, the authority in collaboration with various security and defence agencies conducted various operations and succeeded to seize drugs weighing 1.35 tonnes.

He said the drugs involved 526 suspects, including 495 men and 31 women, of which five were foreign nationals and 521 were Tanzanians.

“The seized drugs last year include 1.4 kilogrammes of cocaine; 8.69 kilogrammes of heroin; 1338.56 kilogrammes of cannabis; and 8.55 kilogrammes of marijuana,” he said that the assessment carried out in 2023 shows that cannabis has continued to be the most widely used drug in the country by smoking and others mix it in foods such as biscuits, honey, juice, tea leaves and cakes.

However, he said the type of skunk cannabis that is used mostly by young people has a high level of ‘Tetrahydrocannabinol – THC’ poison compared to regular marijuana.

“This drug is derived from the cultivation of cannabis mesto where 75 per cent is sativa cannabis and 25 per cent is indica cannabis because the level of toxicity in skunk is more than 45 per cent compared to normal cannabis whose level is 3 to 10 per cent,” he noted.

He informed Journalists that Skunk has the greatest harm to the user, including health effects such as activating the brain, blood cancer, paralysis, sudden death and it causes harm in society such as increasing incidents of theft, rape and humiliation.

Mr Nassoro said Zanzibar does not produce narcotics and all the drugs available in the country come from outside the borders of Zanzibar through the 360 unofficial seaports and penetration through airports, as he that the Authority will continue with the operations.

He used the opportunity to issue a stern warning to pharmacy owners who sell drugs that are addictive in nature as opposed to the law. He thanked President Hussein Ali Mwinyi for good leadership and setting up an enabling environment to fight drugs.

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