DRUG abuse in Zambia has assumed alarming proportions and it is time the vice was nipped in the bud.
It is common knowledge that the most abused drugs are cigarettes, alcohol and dagga.
It is disheartening to see our youth rise at the beginning of a new day and while away their time in bars or some other such places where they abuse drugs.
In an effort to help its citizens, Government has on numerous occasions, through the Drug Enforcement Commission, as the arm that is tasked to fight drug abuse, put in place a number of interventions to stop drug abuse.
Despite all these efforts, the abuse of drugs is on the rise and this is why Government is concerned and is making efforts to bring down the vice.
On Monday, Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo directed the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to rid townships of drug cartels because the scourge is a threat to national security.
Mr Kampyongo singled out Chibolya, which is notorious for drug abuse and other unlawful activities, in the directive he gave when he officiated World Anti-Drugs Day.
The results of drug abuse can lead to a threat on national security, just as Mr Kampyongo pointed out. We have seen some nations that have become unstable because of drugs cartels which want to have their own way and operate against the stipulated laws.
We are happy to note that in the directive, the minister went further to include other parts of the country because the abuse of drugs takes place not only in Chibolya, but in other parts of the country as well.
It is commendable that the cultivation of drugs such as cannabis has met the wrath of the DEC, whose officers scout even the furthest places for the illegal plant grown in the midst of other crops or just in the bush.
Despite these commendable efforts, the abuse still goes on and that is why we support operations like the one the minister has directed to be conducted.
In taking this action, Government should be supported because it is doing this for the good of the nation. It wants to see its citizens spend their time in worthwhile activities that contribute to national development.
Let us remember that Government has a duty to protect its citizens not only from outside dangers but also from threats that emanate from within, and drug abuse is one such.
It is said between 2014 and 2016, DEC arrested 17,107 people for trafficking and unlawful cultivation, and possession of cannabis, out of which 672 were small-scale farmers.
Figures like these call for urgent corrective measures so that the younger generation in our country is not rendered irrelevant but brought back to usefulness and to the realisation of its full potential in national development.
Government needs the youth to be involved in a number of projects and that is why it sets aside huge sums of money to support their ventures and make them realise they are useful in their communities.
Government has gone further to provide rehabilitation centres for drug abusers and this is in an effort to make them useful citizens out of the realisation that each individual has some potential in them.
We urge communities to help by saying ‘No to drugs and drug abuse’ and not to frown upon those who are taken for rehabilitation or to stigmatise them but rather help them in every way and show them love as this will help them recover.
The fight against drug abuse is for all because each one of us is affected in one way or another.