Botswana DEA Chief delivers Crucial Briefing on Drugs abuse

Botswana: The Coordinator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Pearl N. Ramokoka, addressed the Full Council Meeting of the Gaborone City Council (GCC) on the 20th of September 2023. The address was to inform and brief the Councillors on the establishment and role of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Botswana DEA Chief delivers Crucial Briefing on Drugs abuse
Botswana DEA Chief delivers Crucial Briefing on Drugs abuse Image credit: Facebook

Botswana: The Coordinator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Pearl N. Ramokoka, addressed the Full Council Meeting of the Gaborone City Council (GCC) on the 20th of September 2023. The address was to inform and brief the Councillors on the establishment and role of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The Acting Mayor, Oduetse Tautona, did thank the Councillors for the amendment of the programme of the day to allow the house to slot in the address as the outcry of drug abuse is across the nation, and it was in their interest to have an input in combating illicit drug use.

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DEA is a specialised law enforcement authority established for the sole purpose of combating drug trafficking in Botswana. The Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 2018 establishes the Drug Enforcement Agency (Section 27).

The followings are the offences and penalties under the Act: Sections 4-16 regarding illicit drug use in Botswana:

1. Use and possession of illicit substances – a minimum penalty of P20 000 or 3 years in jail or both for <60g of cannabis carries a maximum fine of P 1 000 000 or between 15 -20 years’ jail term;

2. Trafficking in narcotic drugs and substances – fine not exceeding P500 000 or less than 20 years in jail or both;

3. Cultivation of plants for narcotic or psychotropic substances – fine not exceeding P500 000 or less than 20 years in jail or both;

4. Conspiracy to commit drug offences – fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or both;

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5. Inducing another to take narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances – fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or both;

6. Unlawful possession of instruments or utensils for administering narcotic drugs and substances – fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years, or both;

7. Permitting premises to be used for unlawful use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances – fine not exceeding P200 000 or imprisonment term not exceeding 20 years, or both;

8. Unlawful supply of illicit substances, narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances – fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years, or both;

9. Provision relating to certain prescriptions: a medical practitioner, a dentist, pharmacist, or veterinary surgeon shall not prescribe for, administer, sell, or supply a narcotic drug or substance unless required for medical treatment – a fine not exceeding P 100,000 or a jail term not exceeding ten years or both. Removal from the Register of practitioners’ license

10. Double doctoring – a person receiving by false pretence narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances from different practitioners within 30 days.

In Botswana, studies involving students in the years 2016 and 2017 indicated an increase from 8.2% to 26.6% in drug use within a period of one year. Multiple use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco has also been reported to be prevalent among drug users.

The Botswana Police Service reports indicated that 83% of the drug cases handled between 2018 and 2022 involved children and youth aged from 10 years to 39 years, with the majority being male.

The drug cases involve the trafficking and use of dagga (cannabis), heroin, cocaine, meth-cathinone (CAT), dimethylamphetamine, methamphetamine, methaqualone (mandrax), and khat. There is evidence that an increasing number of young people continue to use more drugs over time.

After the presentation, the Councillors had a chance to ask questions and share ideas and suggestions on how Botswana may combat the use of illicit drugs. One of the Honourable Councillors pointed out that, as much as the Ministry was having a great impact on the KgomoKhumo Operation, let there be an operation with the sole purpose of combating illicit drug abuse, and he suggested it be named ‘Lefatshe Larona Operation’ which most if not all Honourable Councillors seconded.

At the end of the presentation, everyone agreed that ‘Combating Drugs = Securing the Future’.