Blantyre District registered an increase in the number of cases of drug and substance abuse in 2018 compared to 2017, police have said.
Blantyre Police Station spokesperson Augustus Nkhwazi said in an interview that over 72 cases were recorded last year compared to 50 in 2017, representing a 30.5 percent increase.
He said, among other cases, the police dealt with cultivation and possession of Indian hemp locally known as chamba, possession of medical drugs without a licence and selling liquor without a licence.
“Lack of punitive measures and sentences by the courts has led to an increase in the use of drugs. The court sentences are not deterrent enough,” he said.
However, Nkhwazi assured the public that police would continue initiating measures to reduce drug and substance abuse cases.
“The police intend to enhance sweeping operations to arrest those found selling chamba and unlicensed liquor. We will also intensify sensitisation meetings to empower the youth to stop indulging in drug and substance abuse,” he added.
Drug Fight Malawi executive director Nelson Zakeyu said lack of clear government policies on drug control is leading to the increase in such cases.
“Currently, Malawi does not have a national drug policy and this affects monitoring and prevention of drug and substance abuse,” he said.