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SA should not decriminalise drugs

Drugs are easily accessible even in rural areas throughout the country.

FILE: Cocaine bust at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: SAPS

CAPE TOWN - Decriminalising drugs in South Africa is not the answer, according to the South African National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (Sanca).

This follows an investigation by Eyewitness News which showed how easy it is to buy drugs on Long Street in Cape Town.

The investigation also showed that some car guards work as middlemen for drug dealers.

Dr David Fourie from Sanca Western Cape told the Redi Tlhabi Show the issue of drug abuse was complex.

"We need to understand the complexity of drug abuse. We also need to be very careful to compare ourselves to other countries and what has been successful there. Our biggest concern is that drugs are easily available all over the country even in rural areas. I think our major concern is the accessibility of drugs at a very cheap rate even."

Fourie said the drug industry was flourishing throughout the country.

"I think to criminalise the user at the end of the chain is not really helping anyone. I think obviously we need to be concern about the user but I think the main issue is that drugs are a major criminal industry in the country and we need to try and get to the root of the problem."

He said decriminalisation of drugs won't help.

"At this stage there is a debate for the pros and cons of decriminalisation of drugs. I don't think if we do that it will really make an immediate big impact. Our concern is the end user. We see the downside of drugs on human beings, families and communities.

"We need to really put our minds together on how can we solve the problem. On that score, I don't think the decriminalisation or to actually continue with what we are doing now is the best way to approach the problem."

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