HealthcareNarcotics in Tanzania

Joyce ObuyaAugust 1, 2021509 min
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Africa has recently become a focus of drug trafficking and illicit use, posing a new challenge to international counter-narcotic efforts.  It is of paramount importance for all countries across the globe to fight all types of illicit trafficking of narcotics since there is no country that is safe from the vice. In Tanzania drugs threaten human health, as well as people’s social and economic activities.

Tanzania and Kenya remain the significant transit points for illicit drugs, facilitating the movement of the multimillion-dollar drug trade to Uganda and Europe because of porous borders and poor policing. The most consumed illicit drugs in Tanzania is cannabis followed by khat, heroin, cocaine and inhalants.

International drug trafficking organizations transit through Tanzania to smuggle heroin from southwest Asia. Traffickers transport heroin via small vessels to Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania and over Tanzania’s land borders with Kenya and Mozambique to destinations in Europe and North America.

In April 2020, Tanzania’s Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) seized 300kg of heroin in Dar es Salaam and arrested a Nigerian and two Tanzanian nationals. The seizure represented one of the largest in Tanzania’s history and stressed the government’s commitment to the operation. Drug traffickers use financial means to influence politicians, law enforcement and others in positions of power.

In August 2020, the DCEA seized more than five metric tonnes of marijuana because of multiple ongoing drug investigations and in September the same year, the Tanzania police seized 51kg of heroin and arrested eight suspects.

Through the years, there were several successes targeting illicit drug trafficking organizations operating in and through Tanzania in 2015. Including two convictions against significant traffickers. In November, a court in Tanzania convicted Chukwudi Okechukwu, who was arrested in 2011 for smuggling cocaine with a street value of approximately $1.4 million and in September the same year, Fred William Chonde was convicted for trafficking 180 kilograms of heroin in 2011.

According to UNODC, despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, trafficking continued and large quantities of heroin were reported seized by Tanzania, including a seizure of 270kg of drugs from traffickers from Nigeria and Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in April 2020 and 342kg of heroin from a truck that had travelled from Mozambique to South Africa in September 2020.

The largest quantity of heroin seized in East Africa (1% of the regional total) was reported by Kenya. Over the period 2009-2019, the largest quantities of heroin and morphine seized in Africa were seized in North Africa (52 per cent of the total, most notably in Egypt), followed by East Africa (37 per cent of the total), most notably in Kenya, followed by Tanzania as stated by the UNODC

The 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs shows that the country’s location, porous borders, and persistent corruption present challenges to drug interception. In September 2015, Parliament enacted a new Drug Control and Enforcement Act which led to the establishment of the Tanzanian Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority with the main role of curbing the supply, demand and the harm associated with drug use.

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The government can control this by educating the people on the downsides of narcotic drugs. An example is that they cause addiction, have the side effects of possibly causing nausea, vomiting, itchiness and constipation, they cross the placenta and enter the baby’s circulation causing diseases.

The government can educate the people on having healthy lifestyles, reduce illicit and other harmful drug use, establish rehab centres in the communities, and reduce/control the centres where drugs come into the country.

Although Tanzania has made significant economic and political progress, it continues to face criminal justice and crime challenges. Tanzania is at risk to terrorism, trafficking of illegal goods including wildlife and drugs, criminal smuggling, and maritime crimes in its coastal waters. Furthermore, Tanzania is located along major heroin trafficking routes from Southwest Asia. Tanzania’s location, porous borders, and persistent corruption present challenges to drug interdictions.

According to https://inl.gov/ , INL is working with Tanzania’s law enforcement authorities to disrupt transnational organized crime, focused currently on countering narcotics trafficking and maritime security. Tanzania benefits from INL’s regional program with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that supports civilian maritime law enforcement agencies disruption of transnational organized crime at sea through effective patrolling, developing the capacity of the judicial system to pursue legal finish and increasing regional cooperation.

The government of Tanzania does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or trafficking of illicit narcotics or other controlled substances. Nonetheless, corruption remains an enormous barrier to effective narcotics enforcement. Drug traffickers use their considerable financial resources to influence politicians, law enforcement officers, and others in positions of power.

Joyce Obuya

Relevant experience as a content writer. Highly proficient in Keyword Research and its tools. Experienced writer in both short-form and long-form blogs as well as Business Publications

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