The policy & practice of drug, alcohol & tobacco use during Covid-19
Science Forum South Africa
Still Igniting Conversations About Science
13:45 – 15:15, Thursday, 10 December 2020
This session brings together leading medical, policy and civil society experts to examine the late Kofi Annan’s statement that “drugs have harmed many people, but bad government policies have harmed many more”. Its focus is on weighing-up the ethics of intervening in the lives of addicted and non-addicted users of licit and illicit drugs.
This debate is timely given South Africa’s March 27 prohibition of all alcohol sales. The country stood largely alone in also banning the sale of nicotine products. Media attention worldwide was considerable. The public health logic behind, and repercussions of, these and subsequent decisions will be scrutinised. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus how societies worldwide both professes intolerance for the use of ‘drugs’, while providing and even cherishing the social settings that enable and make legitimate their use. Taxation, jobs, sectoral interests, culture and civil liberties all come into play.