Pharmaceutical companies have been castigated for t..." />
By Jeffrey Murimbechi
Pharmaceutical companies have been castigated for their pursuit of profit ahead of public safety as studies have shown that young people in Africa are frequent abuser of substances readily available off the shelf.
Discussions from a panel at the Science Forum South Africa revealed that Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria are some of the countries hardest hit by the abuse of cough syrup with codeine as an active drug among many others.
In a hard hitting session titled ‘Sex, Drugs and R&D: finding Africa’s Harm Reduction’, Shaun Shelly a former drug user and Deputy-Secretary of the United Nations Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs castigated sellers for irresponsible practice.
‘Pharmacists are selling cough mixture which has amphetamines that cause a lot of damage and they should not be selling it to young people. We are seeing kids buying this stuff from pharmacists because the pharmacists are chasing profit perhaps or maybe they don’t know but people should be aware of these things and let’s face it it is never a good idea to be using drugs as a young child,” he said.
According to Shelly the menacing scourge of drug abuse led by organized cartels is a form of warfare, oppression and control of progressive communities
“This is the real trick of drug prohibition worldwide as enforced by the United States, it’s a form of colonialization, it is a form of imperialism and it is keeping communities self-subjugated.
So our starting point is to start having a conversation about who uses drugs and why they use drugs because it is always ‘the other, the other, the other’ –until it is your child. We have got to have the conversation and we should not be telling kids to stop using drugs rather we should be asking ‘why’ are they using drugs.
From there we will start seeing a lack of meaning, a lack of purpose and belief that everything is going to be alright no matter how hard you work or how hard your parents work. It is not alright, life is pretty tough,” he said.
According to the UNAIDS’s Global Commission on Drug Policy Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Africa has the highest rate of increment in new HIV infections as a result of the use of syringe injected illicit drugs.
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