Decriminalize drugs in West Africa to avoid failures of past: report

By David Lewis DAKAR (Reuters) – Governments in West Africa should decriminalize drug use and treat the issue as a health problem, because a “war on drugs” will fail in the region as it has elsewhere, a new report by regional experts said on Thursday. The West Africa Commission on Drugs report says a time of fewer civil wars, booming economies and increased democracy risks being spoiled by the “destructive new threat” of drug trafficking. West Africa has long produced and consumed cannabis but its collection of weak states have over the last decade become a major transit zone for Latin American cocaine destined for Europe. Experts say West Africa is also becoming a producer and exporter of synthetic drugs such as amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and governments there are not yet responding to the fact that the consumption of hard drugs is on the rise too.