MDC-T Senator for Harare, Morgan Femai, has urged the government to consider forcing African Distillers Limited (Afdis) to package its products in such a way that they become too expensive for young people.
Femai said cane spirits, whiskies, and brandies packed in quarter bottles by Afdis were too cheap and therefore affordable for young people who are now abusing the products.
Afdis manufactures such products as Gold blend, Star Cane, Skipper’s, Mainstay, Viceroy and Chateau among others.
Speaking in the Senate during a question-and-answer session, Femai said Afdis should package products in bigger bottles to make them more expensive. He said:
Now the drugs coming from out of the country are few, but we have a problem with drugs that are being manufactured here in our country.
Long back, we did not have liquor which was sold in quarter bottles and is now being made by African Distillers; it is being delivered to supermarkets and the cost is US$0.50.
Those are some of the drugs that are bought by our children. It is cheaper to them if they get US$1, they buy two and share.
Is there anything that can be done by the Ministry of Health that these small bottles should not be manufactured?
They must manufacture something at a higher price so that it can be beyond the reach of the youths.
In his response, the Deputy Minister of Health John Mangwiro said he was going to inform the police about it. Said Mangwiro:
Thank you, Madam President and Honourable Member, for explaining how we can curb this as a nation.
We will explain to the police and all the stakeholders if this is being brewed in this country.
These children are not only taking beer but they are being introduced to drugs like crystal meth.
When you hear them say “sticking”, it means when they take those drugs and they will just sit for three days without feeling hungry or doing anything.
We are also hearing that they are now going after diapers, even used ones.
… We used to hear that this was prevalent in low-density residential areas but now this has spread to high-density suburbs.
We agree with what you have said. And we will do everything within our means so that youths will stop using drugs.
They will end up stealing household gadgets from their parents because they want to use that money to purchase drugs. They can do anything when they are drunk.