Secretary to Cabinet Roland Msiska says there is need to develop a comprehensive, integrated and balanced policy in order to counter the new challenges of illicit drug usage and trafficking.
Dr Msiska said development of policy on illicit drugs should not only include balancing supply and demand reduction strategies, but also take into account the socio-economic factors.
Speaking in Lusaka today during the opening of the stakeholders meeting to discuss the development of drug prevention and control policy in Zambia, the Secretary to Cabinet pointed out that the current policy on illicit drug supply and demand reduction was developed 26 years ago and may not address the evolving challenges relating to the scourge.
He cited the emergence of new synthetic drugs that are being produced in clandestine laboratories as one of the new challenges that requires to be addressed.
ZANIS reports that Dr Msiska also expressed concern that most of the illicit drugs are being consumed by young people resulting in increased social problems.
He urged stakeholders to cooperate in combating the illicit production, trafficking and use of drugs in order to protect the health of citizens.
And Alita Mbahwe, Commissioner for the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) said the stakeholders meeting was necessitated by the on-going discussions at regional and international levels on the implementation of the 2009 political declaration towards an integrated and balanced strategy.
The meeting is also a run up to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem to be held in New York in April 2016.
Ms Mbahwe said DEC cannot realise its vision of being a proactive institution that prevents and controls illicit drugs, substances and money laundering for a safer and peaceful Zambia without the involvement of key stakeholders.
She said the scourge of illicit drugs is very complex and needs multifaceted approaches and involvement of all key stakeholders in order to successfully combat it.