The war on drugs has had many victims, most of whom are innocent, but what about the subjugation of entire nations? Or a whole continent? In a very eloquent piece from drug policy activist, public health policy analyst, founding member of Anyone's Child: Families for Safer Drugs Control in Kenya, Lugard Abila exposes the "secret" in the war on drugs. The post can be found on Transform's web page by clicking here.
He argues: "drugs have played not just a prominent role in the cultural, spiritual, and social development of African civilizations - there is a rich history demonstrating how the use of drugs illuminates the history of humanity and there is a long relationship between mankind and mind-altering substances on other continents too." Indeed this is true. This alone should indicate the futility of the war on drugs.
Abila continues to discuss the control conventions and their adoption in Africa. His argument is crucial. As Abila says: "The international drug control system was shaped at a time when African states focused on models of development which were propagated by European imperialism, scientific racism, concepts of moral responsibility and the legacy of colonial legislation. So while in the early 1950s African states were focused on developing their economies and societies, by the 1960s legal arrangements for drugs were inherited from the colonial powers by the newly independent states. Although drugs were originally not an issue, they have since been identified as a ‘development impediment’ for which prohibition is the only answer."
This is what I mean when I say we are perpetuating the colonial and imperial through the myth of the international. The article challenges us to critically examine these policies: "African states must define their will and initiate effective dialogue that challenges the prohibitionist stand and we must enact policies based on a harm–reduction and rights based approach in accordance to the Africa Charter article 20 (3) “All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the State Parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination, be it political, economic or cultural.”
I encourage you to read the full article.
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