Communication as a tool for combating illicit drugs in Zambia:An Assessment of the drug enforcement commission's Anti-Drug campain in Lusaka

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Mbolela, Mulenga Ronnet.
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Illicit drugs are, today, a world concern and Zambia, being part of the global village has not been spared. Global drug trends indicate that there has been stability in the cultivation and production of illicit drugs. However, the stability has been to the varying production trends in various parts of the world which have evened each other. On the other hand, there has been an increase in the number of persons reported to be addicted to drugs. Anti-drug interventions have been instituted among which are supply interdiction and drug demand reduction strategies. In Zambia, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), as lead agent against illicit drugs, has through its National Education Campaign Division (NECD), been spearheading awareness campaigns on the nature and effects of these drugs. In order to assess the drug knowledge base of the public and the impact of these awareness campaigns, 150 questionnaires were administered in Kalingalinga, Kabulonga and Chilenje townships. In-depth interviews were also conducted with former and current drug dependent persons as well as some civic leaders. For analysis, the Social Package of the Social Sciences (SPSS) software was utilised. The objectives of the study included; i) identify the attitudes and views of the public regarding illicit drugs in Zambia; ii) identify any misconceptions held by the public concerning illicit drugs in Zambia; iii) Assess the level of knowledge of the public vis-a-vis what illicit drugs are and the potential dangers they pose; iv) Examine the current information available to the public on illicit drugs; v) Examine the role and extent to which participatory communication can assist in fighting illicit drug trafficking and abuse. The study revealed some information gaps among the members of the public in so far as illicit drugs are concerned. This information deficit has partially contributed to the community's indifference regarding the fight against illicit drugs. The study further revealed that the drug fight requires multiple interventions including massive information dissemination and participatory communication.
Drug abuse