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Ghana News

Why Decriminalising Drug Use and Possession is the Way Forward for Ghana

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Drug policies in Ghana have largely failed to reduce the availability and use of drugs. As drug use continues to rise in the country, a call has been made to decriminalise the use and possession of drugs. Samuel Codjoe Hanu, Executive Director for Harm Reduction Alliance, has advocated for a shift towards harm reduction and treatment services to ensure public safety and health.

Speaking at an engagement session organised by Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Hanu emphasised the need for alternative drug policies that focus on harm reduction instead of a drug-free society. He suggested that the government should review policies on drug use and consider decriminalising drugs or regulating drug use to improve public health and safety.

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Hanu further noted that the government could identify opportunities to create employment and make money from the industrial and medicinal use of some drugs such as cannabis.

David Ansah, Country Lead for SSDP, also stressed the importance of educating drug users on harm reduction activities and available services to ensure their safety. He urged the government to support drug users and help them become assets to society.

The call for drug decriminalisation in Ghana is not new. Several civil society organisations have advocated for a shift towards harm reduction and treatment services for drug users. They argue that decriminalising drug use and possession could reduce the burden on the criminal justice system and redirect resources towards treatment and prevention services.

For the most part, drug policies in Ghana have been punitive and focused on criminalising drug users instead of addressing the root causes of drug use. Decriminalising drug use and possession could help reduce stigma and discrimination towards drug users and promote a more compassionate and evidence-based approach to drug policy.

However, the idea of decriminalising drugs remains controversial in Ghana. Some argue that it could send the wrong message to young people and lead to an increase in drug use. Others argue that it could lead to a rise in drug-related harm and social problems.

Despite these concerns, it is clear that current drug policies in Ghana have not been effective in reducing drug use and its harms. A shift towards harm reduction and treatment services, as well as a review of drug policies, could be a more effective approach to promoting public health and safety.

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