Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

29 December 2012

Tanzania: Drug Addiction On Increase Countrywide

THE number of drug addicts who seek treatment at drug rehabilitation centres in the country has increased to 200,000 in 2011.

The Drug Control Commission (DCC) Report (2011) states that the actual of number drug addicts in general is estimated to be at between 150,000 and 500,000 nationwide.

Statistics issued by Mirembe Hospital in Dodoma region that were incorporated in the DCC Report show that the number of young people who use drugs and attend clinics at the hospital increased from 290 in 2000 to 569 in 2005, equal to a 96.2 per cent increase.

The Commission prepared programmes as well as sensitisation tours through media houses and visited several wards in Unguja and Pemba with the aim to encourage the public to fight against drug abuse. According to the report, through the programme, about 41 programmes were aired; 24 over the radio and 17 on television.

In addition at least 17 Shehias were visited in Unguja and Pemba and about 783 people were sensitised on the impact of drug abuse. Dar es Salaam City Council through the municipalities of Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni educated the public through advertisements, sports and entertainment on the impact of drug abuse and drug users were counselled.

Data on drug crimes indicate that 229 prisoners serve sentences in various prisons in the country up to December 2011. About 120 inmates interviewed confirmed they use drugs. Prison personnel are embarking on measures to find out ways of preventing inmates from accessing drugs.

The DCC report recommends that government completes the construction of the treatment centre for drug users in Dodoma region. The Drug Control Commission operations under the Prime Minister's Office was established in 1995 under Act No. 9 of 1995 known as the Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking Drugs Act.

The core function of the Commission as stipulated under section 5 of The Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act of 1995 is to define, promote and coordinate the policy of the government for the control of drug abuse and trafficking in the country.

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