March 4, 2013

Youth Organisation Wants Narcotics Control Bill 2007 Recalled

A drug Ring Busted Last year
A drug Ring Busted Last year

The Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) is calling on Parliament to seek a recall and debate the Narcotics and Psychotropic substances Control Bill 2007. UYDEL Executive Director Rogers Kasirye petitioned the Parliamentary Defence Committee led by Bubulo East MP, Simon Mulongo, demanding that the Bill be enacted into law and ultimately contribute towards the reduction in drug abuse. Kasirye notes that young people start with marijuana, cannabis and move to heroin which is also allegedly consumed and trafficked by some Members of Parliament. In 2011, 45 percent of the 1500 young people served at UYDEL had drug abuse and related problems. The director explains that there is a high prevalence rate of drug abuse among children in schools and adolescents out of school. There is also a decrease in age of initial consumption and the increase in the number of drug abuse consumers among women and girls. The current National Drug Authority Act 1993 still criminalises children affected by drugs. Kasirye emphasized the need to check secondary schools especially along Hoima and Masaka roads which he says are known for drug abuse though he declined to mention them. UYDEL calls on the defence committee to ensure children and young offenders are directed towards compulsory rehabilitation, counseling and treatment for psychosocial support rather than incarceration. They add that many young people end up in prison where they learn adverse behavior and become hard core criminals. There is also need to domesticate Article 33 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been neglected and received less attention from government. The Defence committee members, however, observed that the petition lacked complete statistics yet there are more remand homes around the country. They asked UYDEL to provide a complete report and also compare Uganda’s status with cases from the Commonwealth countries and those within East. Mulongo expressed commitment to table the motion and ask Parliament to pass it into law considering there is already a law which needs enrichment. Milton Muwuma, the Kigulu South MP who is the vice chairperson of the committee, said he has asked the legal counsel of the committee to draft a motion to be tabled next week as a standby because the country has been waiting for the law for a long time. The Narcotics and Psychotropic substances Control Bill 2007 has been lying in Parliament without being enacted. The main supplier of Cannabis in Uganda is Wakiso, Mpigi and Gomba while Busia is known to supply the drug to Kenya

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