NGOs slam proposed ‘less harmful’ drugs for addicts

2011-10-06 00:00

DURBAN NGO Concerned Community slammed proposed legislation to provide free “less harmful” drugs and needles to drug addicts, saying it would exacerbate the country’s drug addiction problem.

This was seconded by Doctors for Life, an NGO representing about 1 800 medical practitioners internationally.

The proposed legislation is contained on pages 60 and 61 of the draft National Drug Master Plan 2012-2016, which was brought to the attention of various stakeholders in August 26 at Illovo Centre, Durban.

“They propose the inclusion of ‘harm reduction’ in the plan. Our main concern is that this experiment of ‘harm reduction’ actually caused ‘harm production’ in countries like Holland, England, Switzerland, Alaska and Sweden.”

Johan Claassen of Doctors for Life said the incorporation of the term ‘harm reduction’ into the plan indicated that government was considering providing free “less harmful” drugs to addicts.

“Our goal should be to eliminate drug abuse, not to find a cleaner and safer way to do it,” said Claassen.

Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said in a statement that the document was not suggesting the establishment of “shooting galleries”.

“It was mentioned that the definition of ‘harm reduction’ is being addressed, so the document was misinterpreted,” he said.

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