THE Rastafarai community in Zambia has said the answer to drug abuse was employment creation because substance abuse in the country was mainly as a result of poverty.
In a Press statement released by the House of Rastafarai chief elder Chisi Khuzwayo in commemoration of the Day against drug abuse, the most effective way to end drug abuse was through job creation.
“We also wish to say drug or substance abuse, for example of alcohol, is related to poverty and unemployment and not necessarily crime. The answer to drug abuse is employment creation,” Mr Khuzwayo said.
The Rastafarai community also called on the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to fairly enforce the law.
Mr Khuzwayo said DEC had the mandate to enforce the law fairly without abusing human rights and also had the duty to inform the public on both the negative and positive aspects of drugs like marijuana.
“DEC has not sensitised policy makers, Government and the public on differences between substance abuse, drug trafficking and crime.
“DEC has also not related marijuana use to the Government policy of human, medical, religious and cultural rights. It has not also commented on drug abuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs except to create a link between drug use and crime,” Mr Khuzwayo said.
He said the DEC should concentrate on rehabilitating abusers and not punishing them.
Mr Khuzwayo said the way the DEC and other law enforcers like the police and the Immigration Department sometimes conducted their arrests was against public safety, public health, international trends, and awareness campaigns or research of medical marijuana.
He said the Rastafari community was like most Zambians, generally peace loving and law abiding citizens respected by society for messages of unity, peace, love and harmony and were sometimes misunderstood by the DEC as drug abusers.