TANGA: THE Tanga city marked Tanzania’s 62nd Uhuru anniversary by stepping up efforts in the fight against drugs use and trafficking.
Gift of Hope, a Civil Society Organisation based in Tanga, decided to dedicate the day to conduct educational sessions and partnership building with media and Bodaboda operators.
The Tanga Region ranks first in terms of having drug entry points and second only to Dar es Salaam in terms of drug consumption.
Director of Gift of Hope, Mr Said Bandawe, said it was no secret that Bodaboda operators were unknowingly or knowingly being used by drug traffickers to transport narcotics to various locations.
“Therefore, I decided to choose educational sessions with them and the media as partners in educating its residents on drug abuse,” he said.
He said the Gift of Hope plans to open a new sober house specifically for serving female drug addicts in Tanga town.
“The facility would be modern and aimed at strengthening interventions for drug addicts across the region,” he said.
Mr Bandawe said the organisation managed to reach 2,604 drug users and provided prevention education to a total of 24,315 members of the society, including 9,000 school children between 2016 and 2023.
“We also provided sober house services to 297 and provided 383 drug users with methadone treatment,” he said.
Speaking on the challenges, he said a section of public lacks health awareness education on drug use and a lack of knowledge on the legislation that administers issues related to drug abuse.
“The biggest problem is that the society does not prioritise fight against drug abuse, therefore society’s participation in drug abuse fight is weak,” he said.
Tanga Regional Community Development Officer, Ms Glory Malewo, said for Tanga’s geographical location has its advantages and disadvantages.
“Having a border on the sea means that Tanga has so many entry points (illegal ports) that drug users can use to bring drugs into the region, which is why the Tanga Region ranks number one in terms of having entry points for drugs and ranks second only to Dar es Salaam in terms of drugs abuse,” she said.
“The media plays a key role in disseminating education about drugs but we need to focus on successes to show the public that it is possible to win the war against the vice,” she stressed.
Zone’s Drug Enforcement and Control Agency official Shaaban Miraji said that more than 50 suspected drug dealers were arrested by the agency in three-month period since the establishment of the zonal office.
He reiterated the critical role of the media in mobilising public participation in the war on drugs.