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December 2022

Drugs in Southern Africa: An overview

Journal/Book: Drugs-Educ Prev Policy. 1996; 3: PO Box 25, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England OX14 3UE. Carfax Publ Co. 127-144.

Abstract: This article presents an overview of the availability and supply of various types of drug and patterns of drug use in southern Africa, a region of the developing world currently experiencing a marked period of transition. The socioeconomic diversity and multi-faceted cultural dualism so characteristic of the region are reflected in patterns and levels of drug consumption. While alcohol, both licit and illicit, is still the major drug of abuse, others including methaquolone, solvents, khat and pharmaceuticals are reported to be increasingly abused, and illegal drugs in transit through the regions, such as cocaine and heroine, are more likely to be consumed locally. Available data suggest that the cultivation of cannabis as an export commodity is also increasing. Traditional cultural uses of this drug, however, illustrate the problem of controlling drugs and preventing their abuses within the context of modernizing post-colonial societies. The development of relevant community-led drug prevention strategies, social policies and legislation needs to be attuned to the cultural complexities and socioeconomic realities of rite region, rather than to northern paradigms of drug control based predominantly on legal prohibitionism.

Note: Article D Macdonald, Univ Botswana & Swaziland, Dept Sociol, Private Bag 0022, Gaborone, Botswana

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