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Protecting children from drugs, DEC’s role

Dear editor,
KINDLY help publish the Drug Enforcement Commission’s response to a letter from a concerned resident, Chitalu Mwenya of Ndola, about what we are doing to protect children from drugs.
It is indeed sad to see children as young as ten years of age being introduced to drugs and substances that eventually ruin their future and well-being.
You may wish to note that the law, as provided under the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act (Chapter 95 of the Laws of Zambia), provides for punishment of unscrupulous people who take advantage to traffic in various drugs even to children as you complained.
However, safeguarding children from drugs and substances does not only lie with law enforcement institutions such as DEC but everyone in a position of influence over another person such as parents/guardians, teachers, the clergy and indeed ordinary citizens like yourself.
Most of the children passing through our counselling system point to lack of parental care/neglect as one of the motivating factors for drug abuse.
As such, it is important for all of us to listen to the young ones regarding their aspirations, challenges and needs if we are to help them grow healthily and safe.
Nonetheless, as a Commission we have put in place various programmes to cater for children so that they know the dangers of drugs and substances at an early age.
These include, among others, animations and cartoons on drugs, daily sensitisation programmes in institutions of learning and communities, as well as family and parenting skills training, which brings both parents and children together to strengthen protective factors that will help children to resist drug abuse at the point of temptation.
We hope concerned citizens like yourself will support these programmes and contribute to the fight against drugs, substance and alcohol abuse.
Please do not hesitate to contact us on the Commission’s interactive number 0955 684343 (WhatsApp, SMS or voice call) to seek help and support, give feedback or simply learn more on drugs and substances.
Deputy public relations officer
Drug Enforcement Commission