The Drug Enforcement Commission has reported 9.8 per cent increase of people dealing in drugs from 5374 arrests recorded in 2015 to 5901 in the year ended 2016.
In a statement released to the media by Theresa Katongo the Public Relations Officer said the commission arrested 5901 people for various drug offences representing a 9.8 per cent increase from 5374 arrests recorded in 2015.
Ms Katongo said of the total number of people arrested for drug offences, 5480 were male and 421 were female.
She explained that a total of 271 juveniles aged between 10 to 17 years were arrested of which 254 were male and 17 were female. The total number of juveniles in 2016 represents a 2.3 per cent increase from the 265 arrested in 2015.
Further Ms Katongo said a total number of foreign nationals arrested in 2016 dropped by 33.3 per cent with 140 arrested of which 130 were male and ten (10) were female. This is compared to 210 arrested in 2015.
She added that in terms of arrests by provinces, the highest share of arrests in the year 2016 were made in Lusaka Province with 1110 arrests.
Lusaka was followed by Luapula Province with 996, Copperbelt (900), Southern (547), Central (484), Eastern (459), Northwestern (435), Northern (332), and Muchinga Province with 328. Western Province had the least arrests with 310.
“Out of the 5901 people arrested, 2600 people have been convicted from 5002 cases while 2767 cases are still pending in the Courts of Law.
“In terms of drug seizures, the Commission seized 59.09 tonnes of cannabis which represents a reduction of 55.3 per cent compared to 132.1tonnes recorded in 2015.
“Other drugs seized included 304.01kg of Miraa, 26.18Kg of Cocaine, 23.46Kg of Pseudoephedrine, 3.57Kg of Hashish cake, 476.96g of Heroin, 447.3g of raw opium, 110.80g of Diazepam (Valium), 50g of Lignocaine, 9.28g of Diphenhydramine and 1.2g of Lidocaine,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Commission says through its Anti Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) arrested 57 people for money laundering offences.
She said the total amounts involved in the cases of the persons arrested included Eight Million Two Hundred Seventy Five Thousand and Four Kwacha Ninety Six Ngwee (ZMW8, 275, 004.96) and Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Seven Hundred and Four US Dollars and Forty-Six Cents (USD 320, 704.46).
She added “as regards counterfeit currencies, One Million and Thirty-Four Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty-One United States Dollar notes (USD1, 034, 451) and Eighty Two Thousand Four Hundred and Ninety Eight Zambian Kwacha notes (ZMW82, 498) were seized as counterfeit currencies.”
Further, Ms Katongo said the Commission through its Education and Counselling Department (ECD) sensitised a total number of Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Five Hundred Seventy-Seven (320,577) people through the workplace, community and institutions of learning programmes representing a 0.5 per cent increase from 2015 in which 319,091 people were sensitized.
“Under the Counselling and Rehabilitation programme, a total of 610 clients were counselled in 2016 as compared to 415 in 2015. This indicates an increase of 47 per cent.
“Out of the 610 clients, 22 were referred to psychiatric units of the various hospitals countrywide for treatment.
“The common substances of abuse were Cannabis followed by Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, Codeine (in Cough Syrups), Tobacco and Diazepam (Valium).”