The Namibian Police reported Thursday a rise in drug use following a ban on alcohol sale in the country as part of strict measures to curb the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The public possession and sale of alcohol remain banned in the southwest African nation at least until June 1 when the current stage 2 lockdown is expected to come to an end.
Namibian Police spokesperson, deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi said in a statement that drug-related substances with a combined street value of more than half a million Namibian dollars (around 26,934 U.S. dollars) were seized during April.
One hundred and forty-three suspects were arrested for drug possession and dealing in dependency-producing substances. The suspects include 131 Namibians, two Angolans, five Congolese nationals, one Tanzanian and one Rwandese, two Somalis and one Jamaican national.
“Our observation is that after the restriction of alcohol, we now have rising drug use in the country,” the police spokesperson said.
The drugs of choice remain cannabis, mandrax, cocaine powder and crack cocaine.
The Namibian Police also reported last month a sharp rise in the number of people smuggling beer and whiskey from neighbouring Angola and Zambia ever since the southwest African country banned the sale of alcohol and closed its borders on March 27.
Police said that Namibians, Zambians and Angolan nationals were responsible for bringing beer, spirits and whiskey during the lockdown period.