THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Barclays Bank, have embarked on a programme aimed at empowering former drug addicts with loans.
DEC southern region education officer Nachihana Luhanga said the ongoing project is aimed at the economic empowerment of women who were previously abusing drugs.
Ms Luhanga said this in Choma on Tuesday when Southern Province police commissioner Mary Chikwanda toured the DEC stand during commemoration of the Africa Public Service Day under the theme: “The role of public service inwomen empowerment, innovation and accessible service delivery.”
“In line with the theme, DEC in partnership with UNICEF and Barclays Bank, has been conducting workshops for women who had been arrested for drug offences. These woman are also empowered with loans so that they can sustain their lives through engaging in decent businesses and entrepreneurship activities,” she said.
Ms Luhanga said the ongoing empowerment programme has so far been conducted in Eastern, Copperbelt and Southern provinces.
She appealed to members of the public who could be struggling with drug addiction to seek counselling at her office.
“We are happy that more people who are struggling with drug addiction have been coming to our offices to seek counselling. And on average, we receive at least 30 people per year, which is okay because in the past, people were afraid of being arrested,” Ms Luhanga said.
She explained that her office does not arrest drug abusers seeking counselling services, adding that “we’re the friendliest department in DEC”.
And Ms Luhanga named marijuana as the most abused illicit drug in Southern Province.
Scientific research indicates that smoking one stick of marijuana reduces 11 minutes of the smoker’s lifespan.