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West Africa Civil Society Institute Strengthening Civil Society


2nd CSO Workshop on Drug Policy in West Africa

Drug trafficking, consumption and use threaten the West Africa region. The situation is affecting all level of society across the region, from democracy, governance, public health, to security.

The worst part is the response of West African governments to the issues. Across the region the strategy to fight drug trafficking, consumption and use is led by the criminal justice approach, which focuses more on punitive drug control mechanisms than reducing the related health and social harms. These prohibitionist approaches have had a direct consequence on the lives of people most affected by the war on drugs, through overcrowded prisons, corruption, stigma, overdose deaths, and the spread of HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis. 

There is a growing call for drug policy reform and the need to include harm reduction in African drug policies. A study was conducted in 2011 in Dakar to assess the heightened prevalence and risk factors of HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B among people who use drugs. It was the outcome of this study that persuaded the Senegalese Government to create a harm reduction centre to mitigate drug-related harms.  

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The Institute has a resource centre that is open to civil society actors in the region. It serves as a library of civil society documents, research reports and edited volumes that are accessible to both individuals and organisations. The Institute has partnered the Foundation Centre to provide online learning resources and a database of grant giving institutions in the United States of America.

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