2016 News

TB/HIV Care Hosts South African Drug Policy Debate

The use of illegal drugs and the various concerns relating to “substance abuse” feature regularly in the headlines and are seen as important issues in almost all communities. Despite this, there continues to be little serious debate over, or even knowledge of, South African drug policy.

In an attempt to help remedy this, TB/HIV Care will be organising a conference, the RUN2016 South African Drug Policy Week to be held from 1st to the 3rd of February, 2016, at the Newlands Sun, Cape Town.

The dialogue will bring together internationally acclaimed speakers and prominent local specialists, representatives of government, academic researchers, law-enforcement officials and civil society professionals so as to facilitate the debate around important drug policy issues in the country and beyond. Such debates are timely, as the conference is to be held just ahead of the 2016 United Nations Special Session (UNGASS) on the “world drug problem”.

Two previous UNGASS sessions have been devoted to drugs, in 1998 and 2009, and a third was scheduled for 2019. However, the international drug policy landscape is changing and the effectiveness of current drug policies is being hotly debated. Many countries are questioning what has been labeled as “the war on drugs”. This has prompted the 2016 UN session, three years earlier than planned.

Despite international debate around drug policy, there has been little review or discussion around South African drug policy. In the run-up to UNGASS 2016, the RUN2016 campaign was launched. South African Drug Policy Week will be used to spark on-going debate among policy makers and other role-players.

There will be a number of interesting and controversial issues raised including the UNAIDS UNGASS submission, harm reduction strategies, the African submission to the UNGASS zero draft and the decriminalisation of drug use itself.

We encourage you to participate. South Africa, we need to talk about drugs. Register here to attend this important collaborative workshop.