In January 2008 the African Union (AU) launched a Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2007-2012). The Plan acknowledged the “need for a comprehensive approach”, and aimed to “reverse the current trends of drug abuse and trafficking, organised crime, corruption, terrorism and related challenges to socio-economic development and human security”.

To date most African governments have focused their drug policies and programmes on the criminalisation of drug possession and use, and on operations to arrest dealers and intercept drug shipments. UNODC has acknowledged the damaging “unintended consequences” of this approach: not least the “huge criminal black market that now thrives”, the vast amount being spent, the displacement of markets and problems to new countries, and unsustainably high numbers of individuals in prison or pre-trial detention.

In October 2012, the AU Conference of Ministers of Drug Control will review the progress made, and is expected to adopt a new AU Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013 - 2017). This is a crucial time for drug policies in the region.

This IDPC Advocacy Note offers a set of recommendations based on global evidence to guide policy makers in adopting the new AU Plan of Action on Drug Control. The document is available below in English and French.

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