Tuesday March 11 2014

Drug abuse on the rise, police say


The increase in consumption and trade in illicit drugs among Ugandans is worrying the police that the Force is seeking stronger laws to curb the practice. The statistics of police narcotics unit shows that police seizures of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine increased by more than thrice in comparison to 2012 statistics.

The head of the Narcotics Unit, Mr James Kyomukama, said they are achieving minimal success in combating trade in illicit drugs because court fines to drug traffickers are less than the worthiness of the drugs they were carrying or trading in.

“Ugandans are now consuming more heroin and cocaine. When a person is arrested with contrabands, he or she is fined Shs1m in court on conviction or sentenced to months in jail, which isn’t punitive enough. We need the bill to be passed by Parliament to enable us fight narcotics,” Mr Kyomukama said.

In 2013, police seized 32.3kgs of heroin and 67.68kg of cocaine in comparison to 11.9kg and 17.2kgs seized in 2012 respectively.
Police also seized 32.20kg of Methamphetamine, 16.40kgs Ephedrine, 1835kgs marijuana herbs, 284kgs marijuana seeds and 105 acres of marijuana were destroyed in the same year.

He said marijuana consumption in Uganda was predominate in Busia, Mityana, Wakiso, Luweero, Yumbe and Nakaseke districts, adding that there is a need to use aerial spraying because the acreage of marijuana is so big to be uprooted with traditional tools such as hoes and machetes.