African drug policies remain entrenched in a repressive, law enforcement-focused approach. Intensified drug trafficking in the region has raised concerns about the capacity of governments to tackle drug-related issues, as well as weak institutions, corruption and human rights violations. However, some movements for reform are now taking place in West Africa and several East African states.
Women who use drugs or have used drugs should be involved in policy reforms, including development, implementation and evaluation, meaningful participation in policy and programming by women can decrease harms of drug policies, promote empowerment, and improve public health.
Women are a minority within the criminal justice system and their specific needs are often unmet. Penal Reform International investigate the role of gender-specific non-custodial alternatives to pre-trial detention and to imprisonment for women in Kenya.
Through testimonies of former and current drug addicts, social workers, health workers and policy makers, this short film highlights what harm reduction means and how it works within the Senegalese context.
Ghana heads towards a novel drug policy which would decriminalise drug use and possession. This would be a remarkable step within the region - the first country to take such measures outside of Europe and the Americas.
Although the Action Plan facilitates the availability of evidence-based treatment options, calls for the implementation of harm reduction programs, and the collation of epidemiological data, key issues remain to be addressed.
Legal regulation models around the globe might inform changes in domestic policy in West Africa, have a look at this great infographic comparing cannabis regulation in the Netherlands, Portugal, and the USA.
Students for Drug Policy reform aims to bring young people together and create a safe civic space for students of all political and ideological stripes to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policies in Ghana.
Maria-Goretti Ane discusses the new Action Plan - targeting high and middle-level drug offenders, while offering alternatives to incarceration for people who use drugs – including treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration services.