NEARLY 1,400 kilogrammes of narcotics were intercepted in the Indian Ocean in January and February, this year, part of it, about 1000 kilogrammes, were en-route to Tanzania, it has been learnt.
Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) Commissioner General Rogers Sianga revealed here yesterday and that the consignment was netted by the Combined Maritime Forces with whom he held a meeting in Dar es Salaam.
He elaborated that out of the 965 kilogrammes of the narcotics intercepted last week, 650 kilogrammes were destined for Tanzania. Before last week's seizure, in January the forces also impounded another kilogrammes destined to the country, noting that the consignment was burnt at sea.
"The operations at sea were aimed at ensuring that the drug dealers networks in our country were dismantled wherever they are," Ms Sianga said after the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Ms Jenista Mhagama, presented a report at a press conference on the state of the use and narcotics business in the country over the past one year.
The report which shed light on the situation of narcotics abuse and tracking in Tanzania from December 2017 to January 2018, shows that the number of drug users were between 250,000 and 500,000. According to the minister, 30,000 of them were self-injecting drug users whereby between 34 and 42 per cent of them were infected with HIV. The data further indicates that among the HIV infected addicts, over 60 per cent were females.
Ms Mhagama noted, however, that following the battle against narcotics being consolidated from last year, the number of addicts seeking treatment had increased due to lack of access to the substances.
However, she didn't reveal exact figures on the number of drug addicts seeking treatment at health facilities. "The government would now be able to get actual data of the drug addicts because they report to the hospitals for treatment," she explained. The Commissioner for Drug Control and Treatmentfrom DCEA, Dr Peter Mfisi, said the authority had been getting reports from NGOs offering treatment to the drug addicts and some of them had reported the increase.
One of them, Du Monde, for instance, which provides treatment using methadone, reported that until December, last year, the number of people seeking treatment per day at their facility had increased to 50, up from 20 per day, noted Mr Mfisi. Ms Mhagama said dealers into the country has continued to be a transit point of heroin and cocaine being smuggled to other countries.
As the number of the centres for treating the addicts increases, Ms Mhagama asked the public to help in identifying the affected individuals so that they can be put on treatment. She revealed that Dar es Salaam, Coast , Tanga, Morogoro, Mwanza, Mbeya, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions had a high prevalence of drug abuse in the country