Fueled by public outrage over a viral video of underage drinking that went viral on social media platforms on the 25th of December, Zimbabwe’s National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse (NCDASA) declared a New Year’s offensive against drug peddlers targeting minors, vowing to leave no stone unturned in bringing them to justice.
The stern warning comes days after a video surfaced online showing a group of seemingly intoxicated children partying in Harare’s Central Business District. Police investigations into the incident are ongoing, according to a December 27th statement by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Beyond naming and shaming offenders, the Committee outlined plans for stricter identification and punishment of those preying on children. The announcement underscores a shift in strategy, acknowledging the need for proactive measures beyond public exposure.
However, NCDASA Chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri emphasized that the fight against drug abuse cannot be solely waged by authorities. Collaboration remains key, she continued, calling for increased vigilance and reporting of suspicious activity.
“Reference and follow-up is made to the 27 December 2023 statement issued by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Chair of the Supply Reduction Pillar of the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse, regarding police investigations into the social media video that went viral on 26 December 2023 showing minors drinking alcohol in Harare Central Business District.
“The National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse would like to inform the public that in addition to naming and shaming drug peddlers, more measures are being put in place to strengthen the identification and punishment of drug peddlers especially those targeting minors Be warned!
“This message serves as a New Year WARNING to drug peddlers the law is coming after you! No stone will be left unturned in 2024 to hunt you down! The Committee is also appealing to all parents, guardians, and community members at large to be vigilant, cooperate, and increase supervision and child protection measures against drug and substance dealers who prey on minors. “It takes a village to raise a child ,”declared NCDASA Chairperson Muchinguri-Kashiri.
The Committee also stressed the importance of rehabilitation and reintegration for those struggling with addiction.
“Those battling with drug and substance abuse must be supported by referring them for treatment and rehabilitation. They must be embraced in our communities, not victimized or stigmatized,” she said.
As Zimbabwe enters 2024, NCDASA’s aggressive stance marks a renewed commitment to combatting drug abuse, with a specific focus on protecting vulnerable minors and fostering community action. Whether this pledge translates into tangible results remains to be seen, but the Committee’s message is clear, “child exploitation in the drug trade will no longer be tolerated”.