Stakeholders extoll anti-narcotic fight

TANZANIA: ANTI-DRUG stakeholders have extolled the government efforts to disband illicit drug supply chains including consumption and transportation attributing the stunning progress to good governance.

According to stakeholders, including directors of sober houses the number of drug users has decreased as to date a large portion of people who are accommodated in sober houses are addicted to alcohol and cannabis unlike ten years back whereby many users were hooked on cocaine and heroin.

They said on Friday in an interview while reacting to the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority’s (DCEA) historic achievement of seizing a total of 3,182 kilogrammes of heroin and methamphetamine.

Director of Pillimissanah Foundation Sober House, Ms Pilli Missanah said the successful seizing of the large consignment of drugs is due to the DCEA and other government machineries’ relentless patriotic efforts which caught some of the major illicit drug supply networks.

Ms Missanah said the iconic seizure is a clear indication of the strengthened government’s anti-drug monitoring and surveillance system including in ports and roads adding similar operations are utilized to mitigate drug users in major cities including Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Arusha.

She said to date it is very rare to find drug users hanging around on the streets hinting that even the number of admissions in her houses are decreasing.

Ms Missanah who is the one of the pioneers of sober house establishment in the country, told the Daily News that so far, she has six sober houses, five located in Dar es Salaam and two in Mwanza as well as Arusha Region respectively.

“DCEA’s Commissioner, Mr Ateras Lyimo and his team are doing exemplary jobs on battling against illicit drug supply and usage. I am a good witness on these as a Director of Sober Houses currently the number of addicted people seeking for treatment has decreased in comparison to 2012 when I established my foundation,” she said.

Today, she said she accommodates about 193 addicted people in his six sober houses of whom only 55 are addicted to cocaine and heroin while the rest 138 are addicted to alcohol and cannabis.

She said the statistics signposts that great achievements are made countrywide to mitigate supply of deadly substances especially cocaine and heroin.

However, Ms Missanah alarmed that due to the tight control of the cocaine and heroin drug users are shifting to use of painkillers which are addictive calling upon the government to put all eyes on the emerging new form of addictions.

She said concerted efforts including great emphasis on good upbringing and fear of God from family to the national level will win the fight against drug abuse and supply adding that “all people should cultivate a sense of humanity”.

To maintain effective anti-drug operations, Director of the Muungano Recovery Community Tanzania Kingamboni Sober House, Mr Ally Doo based in Dar es Salaam called upon all people in the country to cooperate with DCEA through timely provision of any information pertaining to abusers.

Mr Doo said drug abuse destroys the country’s workforces, cuts national revenue and foreign currency generation and fuels money laundering due to its illegitimate nature.

He said the drug abuse also can increase crime incidents including thefts and robberies as the addicted people can easily be lured in risk behaviours.

Equally, he said the number of addicted people in the country are decreasing as of now at his sober house has 70 people from whom 80 per cent are addicted to alcohol and cannabis while the rest 20 per cent are hooked to cocaine and heroin.

“As the years go on, the number of the addicted in our country decreases inversely proportionally” Mr Doo noted.

For his part, retired Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr Mohammed Mpinga who doubles as the former Traffic Police Commander and Mbeya Regional Police Commander (RPC) said the recent seizure of over three tonnes of illicit drugs implies that the country has heightened anti-drug operations rooted on rule of law and justice.

The retired RPC Mpinga emphasized on education against the drug abuse in every family as is where many users come from.

“Youth who in most cases are prone to the drug abuse should stop, close monitoring on their footstep is critical, the country should maintain the fights,” Mr Mpinga said.

To prevent illicit drug importation in the country, he said Tanzania should cooperate with neighbouring countries, regional communities including East Africa Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Authority (SADC) among others anti-drug international agencies.

He said intensive surveillance should continue in the drug’s entry point including ports, airports and roads as well as preventing production in the country.

On Wednesday, DCEA’s Commissioner General, Mr Lyimo released good news to all anti-drug fighters as the results of the operations which kicked off from December 5 to 23 this year in which seven people including two of Asia’s origin were arrested linked to the drugs.

He said the ant-drug operations were carried out in Dar es Salaam and Iringa Region whereby a total of 2,180.29 kilograms of methamphetamine and 1001.71 kilogrammes of heroin were seized.

“This seizure involved a huge amount of illegal drugs. It is the first ever in the history of Tanzania, all the suspects arrested are from the major drug trafficking networks,” Mr Lyimo said.

He said if all the consignment of the seized illicit drugs would penetrate in different streets in the country and beyond could affect over 76 million people per day.

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