COMMENT: Decisively deal with businesses behind the sale of illicit drugs and alcohol
THE police and other relevant authorities should pounce on supermarkets and grocery shops throughout the country behind the sale of illicit drugs and alcohol.
Offenders must be arrested while the supermarkets caught selling illicit drugs and alcohol should have their trading licenses cancelled.
The said supermarkets are working against Government efforts to end drug abuse and deserve no mercy from anyone as they have become part of the drug problem the country is facing.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, said manufacturers of alcoholic beverages must henceforth adhere to Statutory Instrument 25 of 2001 on Food and Food Standards (alcoholic beverages) as well as the Trade Measures Act (Chapter 14:23) to protect consumers from consumption of unsafe and hazardous goods.
“My ministry is mandated to improve consumer welfare and economic growth through the Consumer Protection Act (Chapter 14:44) which inter-alia is meant to protect consumers from the consumption of unsafe and hazardous products including the abuse of illicit drugs/alcoholic beverages illegally manufactured and some imported into the country.
“The ministry has noted with great concern that these substances are now available in ordinary supermarkets, grocery shops as well as tuck shops. This sad development has exacerbated drug and substance abuse among the youths as they now have easy access to these shops,” said Dr Nyoni.
She said the negative effects of these drugs have led to health-related problems, academic failures in the young generation, relationship failures and crime-related activities.
Dr Nyoni urged supermarkets and grocery shops to desist from stocking illicit alcoholic beverages as well as those smuggled into the country and her ministry shall be engaging responsible authorities including the Standards Association of Zimbabwe to investigate the contents of these illicit alcoholic beverages in order to fully inform consumers.
“On its part, the Ministry will intensify monitoring and investigative activities through the Consumer Protection Commission and Trade Measures to curb such practices. It will adopt a Whole of Government approach to collaborate with all ministries and agencies on enforcement of all the statutes responsible for consumer protection,” said Minister Nyoni.
Meanwhile, we welcome the ban by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) on four pharmaceutical companies and three individuals who were promoting the abuse of Histalix, a locally produced cough mixture containing codeine.
“The Authority, has revoked four permits for wholesale dealers and cancelled three persons’ licences who were promoting abuse of Histalix,” said MCAZ director general Mr Richard Rukwata.
Drug abuse, said Mr Rukwata, is a complex issue that affects individuals, families, and communities across Zimbabwe and poses serious threats to public health, social stability, and economic development.