Government to Drug the People? New Drug Master Plan


Doctors for Life International and Concerned Young People have launched a campaign to alert South Africa about the new 2012 - 2016 Drug Master Plan for South Africa, in which the government plans to legalise drugs.

In a press statement, Doctors for Life warns:

"What may appear to be a minor change in drug policy in the new Drug Master Plan actually signals a major change in viewing and dealing with drug abuse in South Africa. This is a change that we are sure most South Africans would find foreign and be unhappy about. We are referring to the incorporation of the term harm reduction into the new Drug Master Plan.

"'Harm reduction' is promoted as an attempt to minimise the harm done to addicts and society, through the introduction of measures to control the environment in which illicit drugs are obtained and used.

In practice however, ' harm reduction' usually involves one or more of the following:

  • Methadone maintenance programs - the long term provision of Methadone, Suboxone and Subutex to addicts. All of them have addictive properties and should therefore only be given in a transitional phase.
  • Needle exchange programs (the provision of clean needles and syringes by the state to intravenous drug users).
  • Providing free drugs and paraphernalia to addicts.
  • Legalising and decriminalising the use of dagga.
  • Providing 'shooting galleries' or 'needle parks'.
  • Ultimately legalizing the use of all drugs, such as in Portugal.

"The ' harm reduction' approach promoted in the Drug Master Plan is so foreign to most South Africans' way of thinking, that DFL is convinced the transition has not come about through public demand or grassroots community involvement. On the contrary, it appears to be coming about by means of a gradual infiltration. Actually, the whole concept of ' harm reduction' is so controversial that at the UNODC's 52nd session of the Annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2009, the following countries refused to sign the final document unless the term ' harm reduction' was removed from the final resolution: Sweden, Russia, Japan, the USA, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Cuba, China and Italy.

South Africa joined Cuba in objecting to the inclusion of the term harm reduction in the document. After efforts to incorporate the term harm reduction failed in 2009, the voices of advocacy were muted in 2010 and even more so in 2011. This makes it all the more strange that this has been included in the new Drug Master Plan.

One inevitably wonders if there is not some doctor somewhere, or some government official, who is benefiting financially from the sale of Suboxone.

Harm production
"Our main concern is that this experiment of 'harm reduction' actually caused 'harm production' in a variety of countries such as: Holland, England, Switzerland, Alaska, Sweden etc. In fact, Holland found themselves on a slippery slope. The legal users of marijuana (dagga) in Holland doubled between 1984 -1988 after the legislation of dagga. From 1988 to 1992 the number of dagga smokers between 14-17 years doubled again. The same escalating figures are found also in Zurich where such a shooting gallery issued the costly distribution of methadone (also proposed now in SA). From 1987-1992 the amount of regular drug addicts rose from a few hundred to more than 20 000 in on such shooting gallery (needle park)! Why would South Africans want to follow this failed European experiment?

Demand Reduction
"'Harm reduction' represents a totally new philosophy. The traditional approach to combating drug abuse consists of demand reduction. This is achieved through the prevention of drug abuse and the treatment and rehabilitation of existing addicts, and is usually supported by law enforcement and the reduction of supply. Through the eyes of the philosophy of ' harm reduction' however, substance abuse is seen as inevitable, as simply a lifestyle option and a pleasure to be pursued, and even as a human right.

"'Harm reduction' sees addiction as an incurable disease like diabetes. There is no hope of recovery and addicts remain in the drug scene. There is usually no social integration and addicts end up having to rely on social welfare.

"DFL is of the opinion that drug abuse, whether in a controlled or uncontrolled environment, remains destructive to both the user and society.

Eliminate Drug Abuse
"The goal should be to eliminate drug abuse - not to find a cleaner and safer way to do it. To liberate an addict means to liberate them from drug addiction as soon as possible by means of withdrawal and treatment, and to assist them to reintegrate into society, both socially and occupationally. All other measures actually prolong substance abuse and support addicts on their path of physical and psychological destruction. Real help for people with addictions must be coupled with true sympathy and social responsibility. During withdrawal therapy the addict must balance out their personality deficits, and be trained in lost or undeveloped abilities and skills. Even after years of dependency, drug addiction is curable, even if several attempts are necessary.

"DFL strongly objects to this new Dug Master Plan and insists that all references to the concept and the words 'harm reduction' be removed from the document."

Doctors for Life International, represents more than 1800 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans. For more informati on visit:

What You Can Do:
All the provinces have a Drug Forum where anyone interested in countering drug abuse may participate. At these forums you will also have an opportunity to mobilise the other participants of the Forum to oppose the proposed Drug Master Plan.

Contact Johan Claassen from Doctors for Life for details of the Drug Forum in your province: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 032 - 481 5550.

Distribute Concerned Young People's leaflet "Government to Drug the People?" to your congregation, colleagues and community. Download here in English, Zulu or Xhosa.

To join their nationwide campaign to alert South Africans to these plans, contact: Concerned Young People 032- 481 5742,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or, visit:

Contact the Naked Truth about Drugs and Alcohol (TNT) for speakers who can share testimonies at your school or church of how Christ has set them free from drug addiction: 084 516 9561, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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