Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has urged people to desist from buying pharmaceutical products from unregistered institutions and dealers as they will be risking their lives. The minister also warned teenagers, especially schoolchildren, to avoid abusing drugs such as BronCleer and Histalix cough syrups.
In an interview on Wednesday, Dr Parirenyatwa said the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe regularly monitors drugs in the streets although there were some leakages. “It’s very disconcerting that there are these drugs on the market and I know that our Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe regularly monitors drugs in the streets, but obviously there are these leakages and I would urge the public very strongly not to buy drugs from the streets.
“They must buy all drugs from registered institutions, whether they are pharmacies or properly registered stores and preferably with a doctor’s prescription,” he said. Dr Parirenyatwa said they had noted that there were a lot of schoolchildren who were abusing BronCleer and Histalix, especially from affluent schools, and urged headmasters to keep a close eye on the behavioural change of these pupils.
“To the children, this is a very dangerous habit because when you start with BronCleer, you go to higher drugs, you go to stronger drugs, you go to more addictive drugs until you end up with cocaine. So don’t do it and don’t start,” he said. Dr Parirenyatwa’s sentiments also come after people with various ailments could have been exposed to deadly medication after police recently recovered over 420 000 tablets countrywide, including fake ARVs, during a regional operation.
Also recovered during the operation involving Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, South Africa and Tanzania were lotions, cigarettes, soaps, bottles of Histalix and BronCleer cough syrups, among other illicit drugs. The operation code-named, “Giaboia 11”, was conducted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the International Police (Interpol) between Wednesday and Friday last week.
During the operation, police arrested 395 suspects, including a bogus doctor who was operating a clinic in Karoi and dispensing unregistered drugs that were recovered. For the entire operation, police recovered 424 257 tablets of various types, including fake ARVs, 2 399 tubes of various lotions, 2 000 tubes of various creams, 307 bottles of Histalix cough syrup, 11 000 bottles of BronCleer, six pharmaceutical soaps and 300 000 Pacific cigarettes.
A total of 37 pharmacies were inspected, resulting in two unlicensed ones being closed. Since July, Ingutsheni Central Hospital has detained 46 people, among them schoolchildren and teenagers for abusing drugs. Of the 46 clients, three are women, 43 males, six of whom are teenagers whose ages range from 14 to 19 years.
Ingutsheni is the largest referral institution in the southern region for patients suffering from psychological or mental health disorders.