Youth Inclusion: Essential in the area of drug policy  

August 19, 2017
Source: Juana A. Boateng l l Ghana
Youth Inclusion: Essential in the area of drug policy   


Young people are beginning to shift the paradigm in the drug policy world with directives and or perspectives on the best way to end the drug war. Many young people have joined in the drug policy discussion all over the world. Human right organizations, activist, medical practitioners and some key stakeholders have all added their voice to the fight against the inhume treatment.

To some people the most effective approach to ending the drug war is “REHABILITATION AND DECRIMINALISATION” but to others Drugs are cancerous to the human system and the core damage to the human behavioral system.

Over 400 young professionals including students met on 23rd of March 2017 in Portland in the annual students for sensible drug policy conference to talk about the current drug policy situation affecting young people and vulnerable people around the world whiles addressing the issues of harm reduction, leadership, organizing and advocacy.

 The conference which also has a congress to elect board of directors and award outstanding students and chapters who have done tremendously well in changing policies impacting lives positively and empowering young people in the area of drug policy. This year saw two Africans making it to the board. Taiwoo Prince Ailosons from Nigeria and Juana A.Boateng from Ghana making it to join the students for sensible drug policy board of directors. Robert Hofman, Luis Montoya, Elise Marie Szabo, Richard Hartnell are the new directors to also join Eric Gudz who is the current chair, Monique Chavez, Kevin Garcia, Katie Stone, Sara Velimirovic, Kitty Murti, Evan Nison, Rachel Wissner and Eric E. Sterling to help grow the organizational both national and international level with diversity in culture, ideas and experience.

SSDP believes in their steadfast commitments in shared value in the area of drug policy. Keynote speakers from Africa spoke on the west Africa perspective on drug use and the inhume drug policy system meted out on people who use drugs in Ghana and Nigeria. Other speakers talked on what lies beyond legalization and how to ensure a sensible Marijuana Policy as well as the Feminist critique of the Drug War.


About the Drug Policy situation in the world

The drug policy in the world focuses on criminalization rather than support but with time some countries such as Colombia, some states in America, South Africa and other parts of the world have taken an alternative turn and or approach in focusing on decriminalization, legalization, Rehabilitation and Harm Reduction as a best way of solving the drug war in the world. According to the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Section, it’s essential that we put people first which means reaffirming the cornerstone principles of the global drug control system and the Emphasis on the health and welfare of humankind.


Youth inclusion in the Drug policy discussions

The voice of young people in the world is very key in the area of drug policy as most of the affected victims in the drug world are young people. Over the past few years, youth voices have increased with many young adults speaking and fighting for a paradigm shift in the area of drug policy with a lot of vulnerable young people dying each and every day as a result of the drug war.

 There has been little or less youth inclusion in the drug policy discussions around the world especially in West Africa and Ghana. There is no drug Chart on the drug problem among the youth in West Africa and Ghana, not one that I know of.

According to my personal statistics about 90% of young people in Ghana and Africa have less or no idea about the drug policy and drug situations facing the continent and the world. Leaders have accustomed themselves so much to power and other policy dialogues which has made the drug problem and its dialogue lost on us and in the directives as opposed to drug use and drug policy.  

The hierarchy above shows the levels at which drugs is being handled in Ghana. With high level of imprisonment and stigmatization and low level of education among the youth on drugs and drug policy.