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General News of Thursday, 21 April 2016


Drug users need healthcare, not prosecution - Hanna Tetteh

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Hanna Tetteh has revealed that Ghana is adopting a healthcare approach to help drug users.

Delivering a speech at the Special Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the World Drug Problem held at the UN headquarters in New York Wednesday 20th April, the Minister told a gathering of world leaders that Ghana was gradually shifting from criminalisation of drug abuse to offering assistance to addicts to kick the habit.

“The Government of Ghana is committed to ensuring that people who are dependent on drugs should be subjected to the public health system and not to the criminal justice system,” she stated.

The minister held the view that the fight against drugs could be won if more focus was placed on helping people to wean them off the use of drugs because what “they need is public health and not criminal measures”.

To her, an integrated public health and human rights approach to drug control is positive, hence a need to increase resource allocation for such policies.

She, therefore, suggested the development of a system-wide policy on protection of human rights in drug-related programming by the UN Task Force on Transnational Organised Crime and Drug Trafficking.

She also called for the establishment of a high-level, independent expert commission supported by the World Health Organisation to analyse the state of global access to controlled medicines and advise on measures to improve it.

Ms Tetteh pointed out that the development of a coherent UN system-wide guidance on the programming of treatment of drug use disorders for applications across UN programming contexts is also worthy of consideration by the session.

She also suggested the creation of an appropriate forum to encourage member states of the UN, international organisations, academia, and civil society to share robust scientific evidence about the wide range of drug control justice response policy interventions and their outcomes.