By Emmanuel Odonkor

Some studies have shown, prices of drugs are falling while their purity is increasing. Trafficking and seizures being made by authorities have also increased around the world. For long, laws in the West African region, as in many other world regions, have attacked the problem of drug trafficking and drug use from a criminal perspective, with little attention to this peculiar feature of the problem: the criminals – at least some of them – double up as the victims. The laws however have treated drug traffickers and drug users as criminals.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Anna once said: “Drugs have harmed many people but bad governmental policies have harmed many more.” He is not the only one to have pointed that out and the issue has been steadily gaining momentum and attention in recent years.

Under the auspices of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), a non-governmental capacity-building organization for civil society, representatives from state ministries, national and regional drug law enforcement agencies, human rights institutions and civil society in the West African sub-region, are currently meeting in Accra ahead of the UNGASS, to reassess the prevailing strategy in the war against drugs, discuss the need for policy reforms and take a collective stance on the issue.

Participating countries are Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bisssau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

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