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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.109 n.10 Pretoria Oct. 2019 



Legal regulation of psychotropic drugs



To the Editor: The war on drugs has demonstrably failed and has caused more harm than good, much like the prohibition era in the USA. Major issues have been identified, such as the jails being the gateway to criminal lives and health issues due to shared needles and other risky behaviours. Alternative methods of harm reduction are urgently required. A group of people from different disciplines who have studied the problem and who have independently come to the same conclusions have formed an NGO to address this problem, and established the SADPI (South African Drug Policy Initiative). Some of the medical people who are involved in this organisation are Dr Keith Scott (chair), Profs Dan Ncayiyana and JP van Niekerk (emeritus editors of the South African Medical Journal), Prof. Ames Dhai (editor of the South African Journal of Bioethics and Law) and Prof. Liz Gwyther (CEO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa).

Our medical colleagues are invited to visit our website (, which includes information and links to material that will assist in understanding this emotional and important healthcare and sociopolitical issue.


Keith Scott

South African Drug Policy Initiative, Cape Town, South Africa

J P de V van Niekerk

Health and Medical Publishing Group, Cape Town, South Africa

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