Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

5 January 2013

Tanzania: Take Drug Addicts to Rehabilitation Centres, Families Urged

FAMILIES with drug addicts have been advised to seek assistance from various rehabilitation centres while those who have been rehabilitated should act as ambassadors to others.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Said Mwema, said this in Dar es Salaam that the police were ready to work closely with families facing the challenge of drug addiction as more have successfully been rehabilitated. He was speaking while touring the "Back to Life Sober House" owned by Pilimissanah Foundation in Kigamboni, in Dar es Salaam, where several drug addicts have returned to normal life.

The IGP was represented by Temeke Regional Police Commander (RPC), Egbert Kiondo."We in the police force are ready to receive the drug addicts who are willing to change and take them to such centre that will help them achieve their dreams," he said.IGP Mwema observed petty crimes, including pick-pocketing, were largely carried out by individuals engaged in drug abuse who are pushed by the desire to take the stuff.They steal as the only way to get money.

"It is important to invest in reforming the youth because we will be able to reduce crime levels in the country," he said.Mr Salmin Shelimoh from the police headquarters drug control department called on those who have been rehabilitated to collaborate with police in a bid to trace sources of drugs.

"We will treat any information received with high confidentiality. The aim is to stop circulation of drugs in a bid to save the national labour force from perishing," he said.A rehabilitated drug user who preferred anonymity urged police to invest more on rehabilitation instead of taking legal action against drug addicts who are accused of committing crimes in the society.

"Taking a drug addict to court and later to prison will save no purpose, these are the people who are imprisoned, come out and continue with drugs that took them back to prison in the first place. The best way is to find ways of reforming them through rehabilitation centres," she said.

Hamis Hussein, a reformed drug addict, cautioned families to be careful in the upbringing of their children as many have ended up in drugs due to peer pressures."I found myself in drugs not because I wanted to use drugs but I wanted to fit in the peer group and I ended up doing all the bad things that I would not do with my sober mind. Thank God I am reformed now," he said.

The Centre's Director, Ms Pili Missanah, said already some 80 drug addicts have been reformed and that many more were getting relief after attending services at the centre.The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, was quoted as saying that there is an estimated 25,000 heroin injection drug users in the country.

"In Dar es Salaam, recent studies show that 45 per cent of men and 72 per cent of women who inject heroin are HIV positive. This is five times the rate of HIV infection in drug users who do not inject," he said.

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