Zimbabwe on Thursday received anti-narcotics laboratory equipment worth more than US$100,000 from China, expected to enhance the country’s fight against drug and substance abuse.

The equipment which identifies drugs and their accompanying substances in suspected samples was handed over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police by the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhou Ding at CID Headquarters in Harare.

The equipment has capacity to analyse traces of drugs as well as their components as well as detect explosives and hazardous substances.

Accepting the donation, home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said the equipment would mitigate the effects of drug and substance abuse which has reached unprecedented levels, especially among young people.

“It is not in dispute that drug and substance abuse breeds a docile and non-productive community which negatively impacts our vision of attaining an upper middle-class economy by the year 2030,” Kazembe said.

“It burdens the economy as funds that could be used for other developmental purposes are channeled toward the treatment and rehabilitation of those affected.

“It is therefore pleasing to note that, this analysis equipment will go a long way in strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies to identify drugs and improve detection levels.”

Kazembe said the donation brings the much-needed technological sophistication for police officers to wage their war against drug and substance abuse.

“I have no doubt about the commitment of our police officers to eliminate the scourge of drugs all they need are the tools of the trade such as the ones we received today, coupled with societal cohesion towards the goal to eliminate drug and substance abuse,” he said.

He urged communities to join hands to deal with the drug problem.

“Drugs are being manufacturing and traded in our communities under our watch. But unfortunately some of us decide to turn a blind eye, some even decided to be part of the problem. Let us all be responsible and report drug peddlers, drug manufacturers and drug abusers to responsible authorities,” he said.

Police commissioner general Godwin Matanga warned drug dealers that the net was closing in on them.

“Allow me therefore to give a stern warning to drug cartel syndicates that the net is drawing in and the ZRP will descend on them with the same impunity and wrath that drugs are ravaging our societies and destroying youths,” he said.

Chinese ambassador Zhou said the anti-narcotics laboratory is yet another project in China-Zimbabwe pragmatic cooperation under the Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping.

He added: “The project fills the void in the forensic science laboratory of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). It will further improve ZRP’s capacity in drug identification, detection and analysis.

“For instance, the Raman spectroscopy drug inspection terminal equipped in the laboratory can identify narcotics, precursor and hazardous chemicals in just a few seconds without direct contact with the tested substance.

“I believe that such powerful detection tools will help strengthen Zimbabwe’s capacity to combat drug crimes and save lives. This capacity is also a prerequisite for Zimbabwe’s social and economic progress.”