Should drugs be decriminalised?

CapeTalk/702's Eusebius Mackaiser spoke to Shaun Shelly of Addiction Division, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at University of Cape Town, about the possibilities of decriminalising the use of recreational drugs.

Recreational drugs are mind-altering chemical substances that are used for non-medicinal, leisure purposes. Among them are methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, phencyclidine (PCP), MDMA or Ecstasy, and cannabis.

When asked how dangerous different kinds of drugs are, Shelly said that everything has inherent risk that can either be reduced or increased.

In the field of drugs, it is inherently policy that has made the use of drugs particularly dangerous.

Shaun Shelly, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT

He says the problem comes when there is criminalisation of drugs, adding that he believes we've had centuries of non-problematic use of cannabis in Africa until the colonials decided to burn it.

I am not convinced with the argument that this drug is safer than that drug.

Shaun Shelly, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT

Shelly highlighted alcohol as a bigger social problem, with greater public health implications than most drugs, in particular related to cost to the nation. It is legal and easily available and it is not considered a drug. For these reasons many people don't exercise due caution when using it.

Shelley argues that the disease model of addiction is not accurate and only 10% of drug users become addicts. The majority of people stop using after a period of time with no negative consequences.

CapeTalk/702 listeners called in to share their views on the use of drugs and decriminalistion of drugs.

Listen to the full conversation below:

Read More
Why pedophiles are different from child molesters (Dr Eve explains)

Why pedophiles are different from child molesters (Dr Eve explains)

Dr Eve distinguishes between pedophilia, pedophilic disorder and child molesters in an insightful and challenging discussion.

The Constitution is safe with Mogoeng - Judith February

The Constitution is safe with Mogoeng - Judith February

Judith February shares her thoughts on the #SecretBallot ruling and how Zuma is "trite" with real concerns from citizens.

[Listen] The full secret ballot ConCourt ruling by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

[Listen] The full secret ballot ConCourt ruling by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

Chief Justice rules that Speaker in Parliament Baleka Mbete has the power to decide on a secret ballot in Zuma no-confidence vote.

Concourt makes it impossible for Mbete not to adopt secret ballot - analyst

Concourt makes it impossible for Mbete not to adopt secret ballot - analyst

Professor Somadoda Fikeni says Speaker will have to provide a superior argument not to approve the voting through secret ballot.

It's up to Mbete? Twitter not sold on ConCourt's #SecretBallot ruling

It's up to Mbete? Twitter not sold on ConCourt's #SecretBallot ruling

There's been mixed reactions to the ConCourt's ruling that Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete decide on secret ballot in Parly.

For unmarried fathers struggling to get access to their child, this is for you

For unmarried fathers struggling to get access to their child, this is for you

Magistrate Daniel Thulari and Martin Pelder unpack the rights and responsibilities of men who seek access to their children.

Popular articles
How to prepare your children for when they move out of the house

How to prepare your children for when they move out of the house

Dr Gillian Moody says it's not good to pamper your children today and say you are on your own tomorrow, it's a gradual process.

Imhoff Caravan Park says CoGH SPCA has caused harm with wrongful allegations

Imhoff Caravan Park says CoGH SPCA has caused harm with wrongful allegations

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA says their mandate is to put animals first and will continue with their investigations.

Makhosi Khoza 'taken aback' by Mkhwebane's Absa findings

Makhosi Khoza 'taken aback' by Mkhwebane's Absa findings

Stephen Grootes asks Khoza why Busisiwe Mkhwebane was deemed the perfect fit for Public Protector and her views on recent events.

5 facts about the new SA number plates being implemented this year

5 facts about the new SA number plates being implemented this year

No official date has been set for the roll out of SA's new number plate legislation, but here's what you need to know so long.

In case you hadn't noticed, Cape Town feels freezing cold (and here's why)

In case you hadn't noticed, Cape Town feels freezing cold (and here's why)

Capetonians are pulling out hot water bottles and mittens as a cold front is predicted to make landfall on Thursday morning.

CAPS is killing teachers passion - caller

CAPS is killing teachers passion - caller

CapeTalk caller says Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) is not good for South Africa's education system.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.