Africa and the War on Drugs

July 9, 2013 — Leave a comment
Co-authored by Neil Carrier - a researcher based at the African Studies Centre, Oxford and Gernot Klantschnig - a lecturer in International Studies at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

Co-authored by Neil Carrier – a researcher based at the African Studies Centre, Oxford and Gernot Klantschnig – a lecturer in International Studies at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

Given the much over-stated phrase ‘the war on drugs’, enforcement and security agents alike will find the following book of immense value, especially in that it provides a continental view of the problem in Africa. Nigerian drug lords in UK prisons, khat-chewing Somali pirates hijacking Western ships, crystal meth-smoking gangs controlling South Africa’s streets and the Bissau-Guinean state captured by narco-traffickers. These are some of the vivid images surrounding drugs in Africa which have alarmed policymakers, academics and the general public in recent years. In this revealing and original book, the authors weave these aspects into a provocative argument about Africa’s role in the global trade and control of drugs. In doing so, they show how foreign-inspired policies have failed to help African drug users who require medical support, while strengthening the role of corrupt and brutal law enforcement officers who are tasked with halting the export of heroin and cocaine to European and American consumer markets.

‘A fresh, ambitious, and critical survey of drug use and trafficking in Africa, where globalization has added cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine to local staples like beer, khat, and cannabis. Carrier and Klantschnig explore the continent’s changing drug ecologies, the mixed implications for development, and policy responses that have ranged from more drug wars to state complicity in the traffic.’ David T. Courtwright, Presidential Professor,Department of History, University of North Florida

‘Reliable data on the use of drugs in Africa is notoriously hard to find, and this is a topic which tends to attract sensationalism and political opportunism rather than rational commentary and debate. In this readable and thorough book, Carrier and Klantschnig offer a calm and reasoned review of the existing evidence and develop an effective critique of the “war on drugs” approach. Picking apart many common assumptions about psycho-active substances in Africa, they effectively challenge the value of supply-side regulatory approaches and attempts at prohibition, and argue for policies based on harm-reduction. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in drugs policy in Africa.’ Justin Willis, Durham University

Reviews: courtesy Amazon.com

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