Tanzania seeks biological agent to kill cannabis

What you need to know:

  • Tanzania is conducting a research in an effort to come up with a special biological agent which can totally destroy the cannabis week right from the roots

Arusha. Tanzania is conducting a research in an effort to come up with a special biological agent which can totally destroy the cannabis (Marijuana) weeds right from the roots, thus eradicating the notorious problem of illicit drug in the country.

Speaking here at the weekend, the Commissioner General of Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), Mr Aretas Lyimo said a number of countries were envisaging to deploy special weed killers to destroy the marijuana plants, noting however that some experts were warning against environmental hazards associated with the agent.

“We are therefore working to come up with a much safer biological agent that can only kill the cannabis weeds without causing adverse effects to other vegetation and the soil,” Mr Lyimo.

He was briefing journalists on Saturday ahead of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

It was also observed that most of the new HIV infections were due to drug abuse.

The Director of the Tanzania Health Promotion Support (THPS) Dr Redempta Mbatia said her organisation has been trying to assist drug users to recover from the narcotic effects, but the mission also entails prescription of HIV drugs.

She revealed that the THPS has carried out HIV counselling and testing to 1,121 clients whereby 54 (5 percent) were diagnosed with HIV.

They were enrolled in care and treatment services at Tumbi Regional Referral Hospital and Bagamoyo District Hospital MAT clinics.

Furthermore 887 clients received Covid-19 vaccine at both MAT clinics.

On the other hand, through the support from the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Global Fund, the THPS has reached and tested for HIV, 1296 people who inject drugs (PWID).

About 1541 people who inject have been provided with social behaviour change communication (SBCC) sessions and 20 PWID have been referred to Mount Meru MAT clinic in Arusha in the quarter of January to March 2023.

One of the former drug abusers, Erick Bernard speaking on behalf of others said the racket has been driving many of them into serious crimes including theft and robbery.

Among them, 211 (16 percent) were identified with HIV, and 207 (98 percent) were initiated on antiretroviral therapy.

The 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking being observed at National Levels in Arusha runs under the theme of ‘People First: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention.