The Global Commission on Drug Policy – a group of eminent world leaders – has called for a rethink on drugs policy. They’ve released a new report saying the current attitude of stigmatizing drugs is hindering effective policy-making, and argue that governments should be talking about ‘harm reduction’ rather than criminalisation.
BBC Newsday spoke to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the West Africa Drugs Commission and a signatory to the report & he had this to say;
“It is essentially a call for what we call decriminalization. If a young man tries to experiment with a wrap of Marijuana for instance & because of that we put him in jail.”
“I was in prison as a political prisoner & I interacted with these people, some of them just for being caught with a wrap of Marijuana, they’re put in jail. They came out of jail more hardened, more hardened criminals than when they went in. Whereas, if they have been treated as they should be treated & if they need attention, they’ll be given attention.”
“They will be looked after, given a clean needle like it’s been done in some parts of Africa already. Harm reduction & safe places where they can listen to people, they can get attention, they can get counsel. This is the sort of thing we are talking about.”