With concerns that there seems to be soaring levels of drugs and alcohol intake, Government has announced that it intends to set up a national drug and rehabilitation facility.
This has been revealed by the junior Minister in the Ministry of Health, Gaotlhaetse Mathabaphiri, during a debate on a motion tabled by Gaborone Central legislator, Dumelang Saleshando.
“The Ministry of Health is in the process of establishing a national health facility…,” said Matlhabaphiri.
Saleshando’s motion, which had been overwhelmingly adopted by Parliament, called for ‘Government to expeditiously set up a specialised alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation facility”.
Matlhabaphiri said that a consultant they had engaged for the project has recommended an integrated facility.
Malhabaphiri, who is also a Member of Parliament for Molepolole North, said that the motion is most welcome because it is in line with the Ministry of Health’s vision.
Earlier, while contributing to the motion, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Olebile Gaborone, called for the sniffing of glue to be declared unlawful.
He said the centre, once established, could help a lot, especially in the rehabilitation of school going children and other adults who abuse glue.
He said clustering glue as a drug could be a life saver since there were many Batswana who were hung on glue.
“We must extend the centre or such facilities to those that sniff glue because history shows that it is also a problem,” he said. “The minister should declare the sniffing of glue unlawful because it has similar effects as marijuana and other hard drugs.”
Meanwhile, Saleshando stated that, while there is consensus on the setting up of rehabilitation facility, the most important thing is to urgently set up the centre.
“It is well and good that we agree but we must take cognisance of the urgency of the issue,” he said.
Saleshando pointed out that there are many such facilities that could be used to house the centre in the meantime, adding that, as it stands, the only challenge would be to get specialists to run the centre.
He said that the need to be expeditious is prompted by the fact that drug and substance abuse is not just a problem among the youth and school going children.
He said that there were numerous cases of adults struggling to overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol.