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Is Africa losing the war on drugs?

Africa HYS team | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 2 June 2011

A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy says that the global war on drugs has "failed".  So how is Africa faring in its own fight? 


The panel  - made of prominent figures including former world leaders and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan - highlighted the increase in drug use despite the ongoing battle to combat it.

West Africa has become a major transit hub for smuggling drugs from Latin America to Europe in the last decade – so much so that some policymakers and academics say drug-trafficking has reached epidemic proportions in the region.

Have you noticed an increase in drug use where you are?  If so, what do you think is the best way of dealing with it?

The commission argues that if governments stop the criminalisation of drug use, and find ways of legalising some drugs, they would undermine organised crime syndicates involved in trafficking. Do you agree?

What will it take for Africa to win its war on drugs? Do you have any personal experience you would wish to share with the rest of the continent?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 2 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.



  • Comment number 1.

    The only ones benefiting from criminalizing drugs are those involved in the "illicit" business (be it government officials or others). Those who use drugs use a far more dangerous method than say who drink beer. Yet, drug users are not more of a threat to the community or to themselves than drunkards. If we truly care we work from the ground up, we try to raise their awareness, not impose pointless restrictions that attract illicit business and that endanger the young. If we decriminalize it, I bet we will be better off.

  • Comment number 2.

    Unlike in the West, where drug use and the lure of drug money are big problems, it is the lure of drug money that is a problem in Africa. After all, the biggest drug cartels are in the West not in Africa. The problems of drug use and drug money in Africa, pale in comparison to Western countries. Unfortunately, as long as there is an insatiable demand for drug use in the West, some people will continue to risk death and lengthy prison terms by trafficking in drugs in order to meet the demand, and the hope to getting rich quick.

  • Comment number 3.

    Africa won't win the war on drugs until it wins its war on corruption and africa serves as a transit hub for the drugs coming from latin america to europe markets.
    the so called developed world should tackle the roots of the problem by targeting the source and the destination and shouldnt waste time on africa.
    mohamed, kenya

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I feel that West/Northern Africa faces a great challenge in patrolling the Sahara in general. I was living in Mali and I would not only hear stories about the threats of Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb in the desert but also of 747s landing in the far north of the country where the planes would be met by a number of 4x4 vehicles to pick-up the drugs that had just been flown-in from South America that to then transport them to Europe via a number of different entry points. If these stories are even in part true, the governments and the international community have a lot of work ahead of them...but then again one must ask who is profiting from this business?

  • Comment number 6.

    Poverty is menance to the fight against drug trafficking in africa. We always see on GTV police raid people with hundreds of bags of weed bundled onto vihicles probably for sales elsewhere in Europe.

  • Comment number 7.

    Drug is not an issue by itself but a result of demand and supply. Developing Nations in Latin America are focusing more on producing Drug than farming for food because of the high demand in developed Nations where some Countries are even planing to legalize the use of drug. Africa can participate in the Global fight on drug only when the demand by User Nations is curtailed.

  • Comment number 8.

    My son was a drug addicted and could get drugs anytime anywhere. Police know the suppliers and close their eyes. It is also known that wardens in jails take drugs to the inmates.
    When those in charge of ending the illegal drugs business become supporters there is no hope of success and legalizing drugs won’t help society except the few that will obtain licences to sell drugs legally.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    "West Africa has become a major transit hub for smuggling drugs from Latin America to Europe in the last decade".

    Unlike the Europe & USA, the usage of illegal drugs is very low. The transit of drugs through W.Africa is borne out of the European demand.

  • Comment number 11.

    The war is not for Africa. but those who use the continent to facilitate their trade. Talking about drug consuption and drug war in Africa, is kind of a joke compared to what is going on in the west and the middle east. We shouldn't focuse on Africa then alow other continents to be doing the illegal tarde. Lets go after Mexico, Afghanistan, etc and the war will be won!

  • Comment number 12.

    Life is a choice and whoever wants to take drugs should be up to them since everyone is good enough to make decisions about their life.
    mamo Akale

  • Comment number 13.

    It is sad that for BBC to paint the whole Africa with one big brush like this. I am sure you do not report drug problem in Italy or UK as the challenge of Europe. The content in the body of your report does not go with the title. If you do not know Africa has over 52 countries. Please be specific.


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