The first ever Support. Don’t Punish campaign organised in Ghana was in 2015 with a stakeholder’s dialogue that brought together key state institutions in charge of the enforcement of the drug legislation, civil society activist, public health workers, human rights activist, lawyers and more importantly the most affected population of the punitive drug laws in Ghana.
Support. Don’t Punish in Ghana has been a policy window of opportunity for civil society to strengthen their relationship with government and to get actively involved in the current drug policy reforms currently on-going in the country.
It helped strengthened the relationship of Government and civil society and opened a great door for civil society involvement in major changes in the Narcotics Control Commission Bill (NCC BILL 2017) of Ghana. This led to giant break through that saw West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN) making great contributions to the new bill and proposing evidence –based policies for the country.
In 2016 it was a “walk with the stars”. It was a health walk with Ghanaian celebrities and journalist to call for better drug policies in the country especially the need to stop criminalising people who use drugs and ensuring that harm reduction services are offered for the most affected population to help address the unintended consequences of the implementation of the punitive drug laws in the country.
2017 celebration will be a float parade with brass band music with placard messages, flyers, through the major streets of Accra and ending at the forecourt of Parliament house to deliver our messages. There will also be a week long media engagement with the theme “Drugs: has criminal justice failed us?” an opportunity to call for evidenced -based policies, share the Support Don’t Punish message with the General public and call for the quick passage of the NCC bill into law the new Government.
The theme for this year’s float paraded is “Support. Don’t Punish-Promoting harm reduction and fostering public health and human rights in the Narcotics Control Commission Bill of Ghana 2017”