About the Chapter
The Sierra Leone Chapter comprises over 35 civil society organisations including academic institutions, people who use drugs and faith-based organisations which leads national-level advocacy for evidence-based drug policy reform that is based on human rights, public health, and sustainable development with support from the regional secretariat.
Sierra Leone drug control regime is governed by two separate laws – the 2001 Pharmacy Act and the 2008 Drug Control Act. Whilst the latter presides over the former, both, on the one hand, criminalises all drug-related activities including harm reduction practices, and on the other, recommends referral of offenders for treatment and rehabilitation in PART IV of the 2008 Drug Control Act through “Treatment Assessment Panels” which are yet to be established. As a result, drug control response in Sierra Leone is enforcement-led, prohibitive, prohibitive, and characterised with mass incarceration with minor nonviolent drug offenders disproportionately affected including injecting drug users and people living with HIV and other blood-borne diseases.
Focal Point: Aiah Nabieu Mokuwah
In response to WADPN’s growing demand for the decriminalisation of drug use and possession for personal use as well as the glaring evidence of the massive failure by the criminal justice approach to address the country’s drug problems, the government has expressed commitment to reform these laws. This commitment was further demonstrated in the approval of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) 2020 budget for reformation of their law by parliament.
The current refurbishment and transformation of the current mental home to a treatment and rehabilitation centre for people who use drugs are also part. Whilst the harm reduction practices remain criminalised by law, the government through the National HIV Secretariat, authorised the implementation of voluntary HIV tests, needle and syringe exchange programs etc.
In preparation for the harmonisation and reformation of these laws, the Network continues to organise capacity building programs in a wide range of subjects for various categories of stakeholders including drug-affected persons or communities. Whilst strengthening partnership and collaboration among key players to foster inclusive participation and adequate representation of drug-affected communities in the reform process.
Join us to shape humane Drug Policies across the region!