Punitive laws molding more drug abusers – WOCACA

Lilongwe, Malawi’s current drug policy is worsening drug use because it is more punitive than being reformative to drug offenders, Women Coalition Against Cancer (WOCACA) through Drug Policy Reform �Project (DPR) has said.

The organization made this statement at Chinsapo, UNICEF-ground in Lilongwe on Saturday during a sensitization campaign on the need for Malawi to undertake drug policy reforms.

DPR-Project Coordinator, Alexander Zenasi said being punitive to the drug abusers has made them to be more reckless and aggressive to people in the community after their release from prisons.

Our research has shown that when most drug offenders finish their jail sentences they cause more trouble than before. This is because our laws are more punitive than reformatory.

We need our laws repealed to make these drug abusers rehabilitated other than making them even harder to accommodate in our communities, Zenasi said.

United Religious Initiative (URI) which works with different religions and believes in development projects is equally in support to have the laws amended.

It is our vision to see people at all levels in the community set up not discriminating drug abusers because it is leading to more offenders hence increased crime. Let’s counsel them more kindly than roughing them up, Awali Mustafa who works with URI stated.

Sipho Gondwe, a victim of drug abuse himself said drug offenders are on the increase in the country because they are not supported to quit the vice but instead they are punished.

The project aims at creating room for various stakeholders to come together and critically analyze the harms of current drug laws to women in order to come up with one voice that will task the law makers to initiate reforms.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA