The Ethics of Intervening in the Lives of Others: The Example of Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Use in Africa.
World Science Forum 2022, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town International Convention Centre
09h00 – 11h00, Monday 5 December, 2022.
This session unites 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 to weigh-up the ethics of intervening in the lives of addicted and non-addicted users of licit and illicit drugs, brought sharply into focus during Covid19.
Out of the 49 Sub-Sahara African countries, only 16 have data on injecting drug use. The most recent estimates show that there are over 52 million cannabis, 6 million amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS), 3 million cocaine, 2 million opioid and 1.5 million ecstasy (MDMA) users in Africa today. Yet, strict drug laws have escalated public health crises including HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis epidemics, while contributing to the drug-related deaths of 585,000 worldwide. For example, among the 2.3 million People Who Inject Drugs identified in Sub-Saharan Africa, 564,000 are living with HIV.