Zimbabwe Tackles Cough Syrup Abuse

by Oluwatosin Alabi

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) is taking definitive action against the misuse of Histalix cough syrup among young people. A series of regulations and measures have been introduced to ensure this substance isn’t abused.

MCAZ’s Steps

  • MCAZ delisted 10 pharmaceutical dealers believed to be contributing to the abuse of Histalix by youths.
  • Six permits for wholesale dealers and four pharmacist licenses were revoked.
  • Histalix, which contains codeine, is now classified as a prescription-only drug.

Illegal sales were detected in locations like Mbare, Chitungwiza, and even exports to Zambia and Mozambique. MCAZ Director-General Richard Rukwata emphasized the importance of removing unregistered drug manufacturers and counterfeit drugs from circulation.

Beyond the physical effects on individuals, drug abuse wreaks havoc on families and the broader Zimbabwean community. To combat this, the authority has canceled permits for companies including Adept, Bestpharm, Action 24 Medical Supplies, and Murity Pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the directors and supervisors of these firms have received operational bans.

Highlighting the ongoing concern, Rukwata mentioned that there’s a rise in over-the-counter medicines being illicitly imported into the country. To combat this, MCAZ has ramped up collaboration with other stakeholders such as the Police, CID Drugs, National Prosecuting Authority, Zimra, and port health officials. The aim is to heighten vigilance at ports of entry and curtail illegal channels.

Residents expressed their concerns, with one urging the removal of a popular street drug, while another called for stronger action against influential figures contributing to the issue.

With a clear and directed approach, MCAZ is hoping to make a dent in the substance abuse problem plaguing the nation. The focus is on not just cracking down on illegal sales, but also on promoting community awareness and education.

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