Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Africa


Extent of Drug Abuse

Cannabis is reported to be the most abused drug in Tanzania with an estimated 42,000 annual and 10,000 daily abusers, followed by benzodiazepines with about 40,000 annual and 5,000 daily abusers.  There are an estimated 10,000 annual and 5,000 daily abusers of khat, and about 1,000 annual and 200 daily abusers of volatile solvents (ARQ 1991).

            Other drugs abused include heroin (100 annual abusers), morphine (50 annual abusers), synthetic narcotic analgesics (40 annual abusers), and cocaine (40 annual abusers) (ARQ 1991).

Abuser Characteristics

Most drug abusers are males.  About 30 per cent of cannabis abusers, 30 per cent of benzodiazepine abusers and 10 per cent of heroin and morphine abusers are females (ARQ 1991).

            Most drug abusers are between 20-45 years of age.  Cannabis abusers range from 15-50 years of age.  Abuse of volatile solvents is reported more predominant among the younger age group (12-25) (ARQ 1991).

            Khat is abused mostly by truck drivers and night watchmen. However, khat abuse appears to be spreading among youth, according to ARQ reports.  Volatile substances are abused by poor abusers, especially, street children. Heroin abuse is more common among young businessmen or abusers with affluent parents (ARQ 1991; Tanzania 1993).

                                                                       Regional Variations

Heroin abuse is more prevalent in Dar es Salaam (ARQ 1991).  Cannabis abuse is common among both rural peasants and unemployed urban youngsters.  Abuse of amphetamines and sedatives is most common among the urban population (ARQ 1990).


An increase in the abuse of volatile solvents and khat among street children has been reported. This is attributed to the deterioration of the socio-economic situation (ARQ 1991).

            Some increase in the abuse of heroin and cocaine was also reported for 1991. This is attributed to increased trafficking and more availability. A significant proportion of heroin abusers are initiated by traffickers, who offer the drug free of charge (ARQ 1991). Abuse of other drugs remained stable (ARQ 1991; Tanzania 1993). 



Mode of Intake

Opiates are injected, ingested and smoked. Cocaine and cannabis are smoked. Cannabis is also ingested. Other drugs ingested include khat and benzodiazepines.  Volatile solvents are inhaled as well as sniffed. Multiple drug abuse is reported, including different combinations of the following: cannabis, alcohol, khat, heroin, cocaine and volatile solvents (ARQ 1991).


According to ARQ reports, drug dependence among youth from affluent background leads some to selling family valuables to maintain their habit, resulting in strained family relations. Concern is also reported over reduction of productivity in business and costly treatment of the abusers (ARQ 1991).


National Strategy

An Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee on Drug Abuse Control includes law enforcement, mass media, social welfare, city councils, health, home affairs, foreign affairs, justice, pharmacy, government chemist, education and community development. The committee coordinates exchange of information, and policy and programmes development. Further, it aims to facilitate communications between all parties working in the field of drug abuse control (EFDR 1993).

            Tanzania has legislation relating to seizure and forfeiture of proceeds from drug trafficking and money laundering (Tanzania 1993).

                                                    Structure of National Drug Control Organs

The central government unit responsible for liaison and coordination of national drug control policy is the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drug Abuse Control within the Ministry of Health.


                                                                         Treaty Adherence

United Republic of Tanzania is not party to any of the international drug control treaties.  Proposals were submitted to Governments in 1991 with a view to acceding to the 1988 Convention and the other two.

                                                 Measures Taken with Respect to Drug Control

Recently enacted laws and regulations:
In 1991, the Proceeds of Crime Act which provides for seizure and forfeiture of  proceeds from dealing in drugs and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Act providing for international action on matters relating, inter alia, to drug trafficking, were enacted.

Licensing system for manufacture, trade and distribution:
There is a government-controlled licensing system. Chlorpromazine, diazepam, diozepan, promethazine and phenobarbitone (psychotropic substances)  were reported being manufactured during 1991.  No manufacture of narcotic drugs was reported.


Control system:
(i) Prescription requirement: There is a prescription requirement for supply or dispensation of preparations containing narcotic drugs and  psychotropic substances.
(ii) Warnings on packages: The law requires warnings on packages or accompanying leaflet information to safeguard the users of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
(iii) Control of non-treaty substances, if any: By a Prohibition Order of 1989, cultivation and trafficking in khat was prohibited.
(iv) Other administrative measures: In 1991, The Customs and Sales Tax Department set up a new unit directly under the Commissioner to deal with drug control activities.

                                                                          Social Measures

Penal sanctions related to social measures: In 1991, courts applied measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation or social reintegration for a drug-related offence neither as an alternative nor in addition to conviction or punishment.

Other social measures: In Dar-es-Salaam, commercial and village leader were involved in defining the problem of drug abuse and formulating local action to combat production and consumption of drugs of abuse.


                                                       DEMAND REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Primary Prevention

Mass media campaigns are conducted through the radio and newspapers.

            Drug education programmes are part of the curriculum in the school system, targeting mainly youth. In addition, some drug education programmes aim at parents, teachers and community leaders. Special events with an anti-drug theme (1990) are also organized.  Others out-of-school events are carried out by NGO's and church groups (Forum 1993).

            Educational measures are encouraged by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health. A "Family Life Education" project operated between 1987 and 1993 in 10 primary and 5 secondary schools and in 5 teacher training colleges. The project targeted youth at risk to increase their health awareness as well as harmful consequences associated with drug abuse. Seminars on drug abuse for school youth and for their teachers are provided with the collaboration of NGOs and the Muhimbili Medical Centre (EFDR 1993).

            Five drug prevention training workshops have been conducted for educators with an aim to encourage the development of drug prevention in education the Police, Teachers College, Mass Media, Health Education, Secondary School, Nurses Training School, Medical Assistant Training College, the University, the National Library and the Institute of Social Welfare (EFDR 1993).

            Community programmes, with special focus on youth, in Tanzania (such as those sponsored by the International Organization of Good Temples) offer day service and after school programmes as prevention activities (Mwakyanjala, P. 1989). Campaigns also aim to sensitize parents and involve them in drug prevention education of their children (EFDR 1993). The Community Mental Health Team of the Department of Psychiatry of Muhimbili Medical Centre has been conducting meetings with community leaders to discuss drug abuse problems and to develop prevention measures. Parents, teachers and youth are also enlisted in drug prevention at the community level (EFDR 1993).

            Drug prevention activities in the work place are led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, in collaboration with ILO. These include a counselling and rehabilitation programme for alcohol and drug dependent abusers (EFDR 1993).


Treatment and Rehabilitation

The psychiatric unit of the general hospital of the capital provides treatment and rehabilitation services to drug abusers (Forum 1993).


                                                        SUPPLY REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Arrests, Convictions and Types of Offenses

Tanzanians have been serving drug related prison terms in a number of countries: 101 in Greece, 29 in Egypt, 15 in Scandinavian countries, and 10 in Kenya (Pasape, J.E. 1989). Between January 1992 and May 1993, 103 arrests were made in Tanzania (EFDR 1993).


In 1991, about 8 kg of cannabis herbs, 5,384 kg of cannabis resin, 0.3 kg of cocaine and 1.557 kg of heroin were seized (ICPO 1991; Other official sources 1991). Seizures in 1992 are cannabis plants about 21,564 kg, heroin 1.132 kg and 46 units, morphine 0.08 kg, methaqualone 8 units, stimulants 28.154 kg (ARQ 1992, Part III).

                                                                    Supply Source of Drugs

Cannabis and khat are locally grown and available in the local markets (Tanzania 1993).
Tanzania is increasingly used as a transit point by drug traffickers for both heroin and cocaine. Two networks were established, from Pakistan and India, through Syria, Lebanon and Djibouti, to East Africa including Tanzania and to South Africa. The Immigration Department is trying to discourage the use of Tanzania as a transit point for drug traffickers, and is working with other organs to disrupt drug trafficking networks (Pasape, J.E. 1989).


Sources of Information

ARQ 1990, 1991. Replies to the UNDCP "Annual Reports Questionnaires" for the years 1990 and 1991. Part II.

ARQ 1992, Part III. Replies to the UNDCP "Annual Reports Questionnaires" for the years 1992, Part III.

EFDR 1993. Paper presented at the "Expert Forum on Demand Reduction in East and Southern Africa",  Nairobi, Kenya,  1-5, November 1993.

Forum 1993.  "Report of the Expert Forum on Demand Reduction in East and Southern Africa".  Nairobi, Kenya, 1-5 November 1993.

ICPO 1991.  Figures cited by ICPO/Interpol 1991.

Mwakyanjala, P. 1989. "Working With Young People in the Community" in A Handbook on Preventive Education Against Drug Abuse for Tanzania, edited by S.F. Kaaya, G.P. Kilonzo, E.K. Kilima and J. Mbatia. Preventive Education Against Drug Abuse, Project AD/URT/89/533 of the Ministry of Health, United Republic of Tanzania.

Other official sources 1991.  Figures obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by Governments or from other official sources.

Pasape, J.E. 1989. "The Role of Immigration in Combating the Problem of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking" in  A Handbook on Preventive Education Against Drug Abuse for Tanzania, edited by S.F. Kaaya, G.P. Kilonzo, E.K. Kilima and J. Mbatia. Preventive Education Against Drug Abuse, Project AD/URT/89/533 of the Ministry of Health, United Republic of Tanzania.

Tanzania 1993. "Report of Tanzania to the Sixth Meeting of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA)", Africa, Abidjan 24 to 28 May 1993.


** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on the Annual Reports Questionnaire for the year 1991.