Nationwide Dialogues Seek Humane Approach to Drugs

By Staff Reporter

In an effort to address the issues of drug and substance use, the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (ZCLDN) is set to host national dialogues across the country, bringing together various stakeholders to discuss the need for a health –focused approach to end the scourge.

Speaking on the side-lines of the event which is being held in Dzivarasekwa on May 25, ZCLDN director Wilson Box emphasized the importance of revising drug laws in Zimbabwe.

“We need to shift our approach from criminalising drug users to treating them as victims of a vice.

“Decriminalization will enable more people who use drugs to seek treatment services and we hope to reform drug laws to encourage people to come forward and seek medical treatment,” Box said.

“The case of a guy in Chegutu is a case in point. That guy should have been treated of mental health issues instead of the end result.”

The dialogue will solicit ideas and novel ways of dealing with drug use using the humane approach rather than criminalisation which has clearly failed.

Box added that the dialogue will engage diverse stakeholders including community members,pastors ,health officials and the police and people who use injected drugs.

“The key stakeholders are the people of Dzivarasekwa who are coming to share their experiences with the challenges of drug use in the suburb, “he said.

“Other organisations coming up to this dialogue include Students for Sensible Drug Policies and Women Health Issues Trust Zimbabwe. We also expect the ZRP Narcotics desk to attend the dialogue and people who use and inject drugs in their diversity.

“The dialogue is open to everyone including the voices of the marginalized and hard to reach populations in our localities. In other words, we expect the marginalized populations to be given a platform to express themselves.”

The dialogue will be held in multiple provinces including Marondera and in other provinces such as Matabeleland, Masvingo And Manicaland.

Decriminalization is the process through which the legislature removes criminal sanctions against an act, omission, article, or behavior which is considered a crime. In some legal systems criminal penalties are replaced by civil sanctions, while in other systems no penalties are applied at all.

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