Ex- Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has said West African governments should overhaul their drug laws to decriminalize personal use and prioritize treatment as a response to rising substance abuse in the region,
In an interview before he was due to present a model drug law to regional officials in Senegal, Chief Obasanjo urged authorities to channel resources into fighting large-scale trafficking, which he said was undermining regional democracy.
He said the use of substances like cocaine, heroin and amphetamines is rising in West Africa despite strict drugs laws noting that countries that once served primarily as transit points for trade between South America and Europe are now active consumer markets.
Obasanjo’s commission has only an advisory role and it is up to national governments, often reluctant to scrap longstanding drug regulations, to decide whether to accept its proposals.
“Prison does not reform. If anything it hardens,” he said.
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