‘Tanzania have about 500,000 heroin users’

20Nov 2021
The Guardian Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
‘Tanzania have about 500,000 heroin users’

TANZANIA is estimated to have about 500,000 heroin users, something which shows how drug abuse was still a major challenge in the country.

Commissioner General of the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) Gerald Kusaya said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday while handing over equipment for the operation of a small clinic that provides services to drug addicts (inmates) at the Segerea Prison.

Commissioner Kusaya urged Tanzanians to support the war against drug abuse by unearthing all people who are behind the dirty business including those who traffic the product.

“Tanzanians should cooperate with DCEA especially by reporting all people who engage in the business. In this war, we do not fear anyone, we will work tirelessly, day and night to achieve the goal, so what we want is your cooperation,” he said.

He said that Dar es Salaam Region has four clinics that have been established to provide services to drug addicts. The country has a total of 11 clinics.

He said the number of drug addicts receiving medical services at the centres had reached 10,600, something that makes some facilities to be overwhelmed.

The commissioner said DCEA is there to ensure that every region has a clinic to serve the drug addicts, so the new centre will allow inmates and citizens living near Segerea Prison to access the service.

Kusaya named the handed over equipment as medicine cabinet, photocopy machine, printer, computer; file storage cabinets, patient check-up bed, plastics that support bed sheeting.

Others are alcohol measuring tools, syringes, medicine cups, tables, chairs, urine tests and blood pressure measurements.

Dr Abdilatifu Mkingule, Chief Medical Officer of the Segerea Prison Hospital, who is coordinator of the Methadone Project, said: “We had a plan to establish this facility five years ago, the process was long, we went through many challenges.”

He said they were facing many challenges in taking care of the inmates who are drug addicts, so the establishment of the centre would address the challenge.

“We have 10 prisons that need this service, we are calling for these centres to be established in all other prisons,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Focus Ntakambi, said the DCEA’s move to establish the facility at Segerea Prison would help slow down the process of transporting prisoners to remote facilities to access the service, an act that is dangerous.