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Addiction: Ministry of Health looks at revision of current legislation (Selim Chaker).

(TAP) - "The Ministry of Health is currently working with all its partners on the revision of the drug legislation, already 25 years old, which despite its repressive aspect has shown its limits," said Saturday health Minister Slim Chaker.

Speaking at a seminar held on "addictions and political choices", in Tunis, at the initiative of the Tunisian society of Addictology (STADD), Chaker clarified that a conceptual change ranging from drug addiction and delinquency to addiction-sickness was materialised by a proposal to amend the Tunisian legislation on narcotics represented by Bill 79-2015 currently under consideration by the Committee on General Legislation of the House of People's Representatives (HPR).

"This bill, despite some reproaches, takes into account the health, social and economic aspects of addictions while taking into account the reality of the Mediterranean countries," he said.

Selim Chaker confirmed, on the same occasion, that pending the reopening of the centre of Jebel West detoxification, spaces of reception and listening were created in the great Tunis and the governorates of Nabeul and Bizerte.

According to statistics presented by the Minister, the number of users of cannabis in Tunisia currently stands at 400 thousand and that of injecting drug users at 33,000, including 75% are single users.

On the other hand, the number of addictologists between doctors and clinical psychologists is 120. "These addictologists will make a definite contribution to the rapprochement of services for the benefit of addicts and their geographical distribution will ensure that they will reach the most of the regions, "said the Minister of Health.

For his part, Nabil Ben Salah, President of STADD, listed the contributions of Bill 79-2015 relating to narcotic drugs in relation to Law 92-52 still in force, insisting in this context on the importance of human rights, including the right to health, prevention and social reintegration.

Nicolas Prisse, president of the interdepartmental mission for the fight against drugs and addictive behaviours (MILDECA) in France, pointed out that addiction is a global issue with major challenges to address pointing to the main French policy directions put in place for eradicating this scourge.

In the first place, the fight against this scourge must be carried out with a global approach taking into account the origins and consequences, he said, recalling that in France a number of about 700 thousand daily cannabis users checked in.

Consumption, moreover, is responsible for school failure, he said, stressing the need to make known the causes of addiction and its consequences.

"The strategy of prevention against addiction has failed in France," he said, highlighting the importance of guiding prevention strategies to children.

It is also necessary that the prevention and care effort targets pregnant women, people with disabilities and people in precarious situations, he said.

In turn, Gerard Duru, academic (France), mentioned the economic weight of the political choice in legislation related to addiction.

The social cost of addiction is high, he said, highlighting absenteeism, declining productivity and loss of added value.

The academic highlighted the high economic cost of addiction which prompts us to think about solutions.

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Publication:Agency Tunis Afrique Press
Date:Sep 23, 2017
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