Reasons for State Interventions One of the major reasons for state interventions in narcotic druguse is the possibility of users getting addicted to narcotic drugs. It goeswithout saying that an addict of narcotic drugs as well as his family suffernegative implications of addiction as seen in the deterioration of health anddepletion of monetary resources. With increases in addiction, states were quickto recognize the more indirect, gradual and potentially elusive problemsaddiction causes society in general. Therefore, after tolerating for centuriesthe medicinal and recreational use of narcotic drugs, states only began tointervene in the nineteenth century when opium addiction became commonplace1.Some of the reasons which support past and present state interventions include:the belief in a positive relationship between narcotic drug use and crime Itis believed by certain researchers that narcotic drug intake could result incrime in a number of ways explained by three models: the psychopharmacologicalmodel, economic compulsive model and systemic model2. Crimecaused by the altering effect of the drugs on the addict’s brain and way ofthinking is known as psychopharmacological crime.
Under this category, individuals, as a resultof short or long-term ingestion of specific substances, may become excitable,irrational, and may exhibit violent behavior3.For instance, the New York Post (1984) reported that, a New York City Transitpolice officer was beaten with his own nightstick and his chin was nearlybitten off by a fare beater who was high on angel dust (phencyclidine)4. Economic-compulsive crime stems from anaddict’s need to get money to purchase narcotics. Addicts who commit violencedue to economic-compulsion are not primarily motivated by impulses to act out aggressively5.
Rather, their primary motivation is to obtainmoney to purchase narcotics. Systemic violence refers to the traditionallyviolent trends of interaction within the system of drug distribution and use. Instancesof such crime include fights and murders of drug lords and informants, disputesover narcotic quality and the failure of addicts to pay dealers6.1.
3.2. Legal Approaches to Control Narcotic Drug Use and AddictionThe narcotic drug policies of states are established on a variety of modelssuch as the prohibitionist model, risk or harm reduction, legalization orregulation and decriminalization as mentioned by several researchers7. These models have core characteristics; however,they lack a universal definition by any one body of authority. In effect, some differentlynamed models may essentially have the same principles in practice. Although theoretically, the two mutually exclusive positions ofprohibition and legalization exist, an examination of current narcotic drugpolicies reveals that in reality, prohibition and legalizationdo not represent two disjoint sets8. Instead, the current drug policies in theworld today form a continuum, with the most punitive prohibitionist policyimaginable at one end all the way over to a completely libertarian proposal withno laws governing thepossession or sale of any drug9. In between these two ends of thespectrum are policies that make different degrees of modifications to thestaunch extreme positions.
Thus in reality, none of the models is mutuallyexclusive; some may overlap and contain elements of another10. The subsequent paragraphs briefly examine the prohibitionist,decriminalization and harm reduction models paying attention to their characteristicsand rationale behind implementation as well as the critiques levelled againstthem. 1.
3.2.1.Prohibitionist ModelThe prohibitionistmodel generally advocates harsh punishments for illegal narcotic drugpossession, distribution or production11. Thus,an individual engaged in a drug transaction, or who is in possession of aquantity of an illegal substance and is apprehended by the police, may bearrested, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned12. Although this is thegeneral prohibitionist outlook, a closer look at the different propositions labelledprohibitionist reveals two distinctive positions as outlined by Goode13.These are the strict punitive argument and the moderate punitive argument. The strict punitive argument as maintainsthat a given criminal activity can be reduced or eliminated by law enforcement.
According to this argument, increasing the number of arrests of drug users anddealers as well as their prison sentences will defeat narcotic drug use. Themoderate punitive argument on the other hand, is founded on the premise that in the absence of law enforcement, agiven activity would be much more common than it is with the presence of law enforcement. In other words, if there are no lawsprohibiting drug use and drug distribution, the incidence of these activitieswill be higher than they would be with the existence of such laws.Rationalebehind Prohibitionist Model – Deterrence Theory TheProhibitionist Model is largely based on the deterrence theory. Thetheory of deterrence was developed on the works of Thomas Hobbes (1588–1678),Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), and Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832). These philosophers claim that, individualsact rationally and will weigh the consequences of their actions beforecommitting them.
They also add that anindividual who is thinking of committing a crime would first undertake acost-benefit analysis and would only forge ahead with the crime if itspotential benefits significantly offset the expected costs (sanctions). Again, the bodies of deterrent theoristsposit that a rational individual takes the severity, certainty and celerity ofsanctions into consideration in his or her cost-benefit analysis. These factors, they maintain, generally havean inverse relationship with the commission of crime.Among researchers who trace theprohibitionist model to the deterrence theory are Zimring and Hawkin (1973) andWalker (2006). The former explain thedeterrence theory in general as the threat the unpleasant penalties associatedwith crime poses to discourage criminal activities. Kennedy (1983) also defines the deterrenttheory as the “control or alteration of present and future criminal behaviorwhich is effected by fear of adverse extrinsic consequences resulting from thatbehavior.
‘” Walker (2006) reveals adeterring law’s demotivating effect on crime, stating that, such a law performsa dual function in this regard. Heposits the first function as teaching a lawbreaker right from wrong and thesecond as cautioning other individuals not to engage in the crime inquestion. Critiquesof Prohibitionist Model Lab(2000) claims deterrence is a major form of crime prevention and has served asa cornerstone of criminal justice.
Someresearchers such as Husak (2009) are of the view that although deterrence is amajor form of preventing crime, its real effectiveness in doing so is difficultto assess. Husak (2009) confirms when hementions that a survey conducted by theU.S. Department of Health and HumanService in 1989 indicated that a majority of high school seniors would not usemarijuana even if it were legal and available. From this survey, the prohibitionist laws were effective on only lessthan 10% who indicated that they would try marijuana for the first time underthe said circumstances. Williams and Hawkins (1986)assert that the deterrence theory, and implicitly the prohibitionist model,requires a psychological process whereby individuals are prevented from committingcriminal acts only if they perceive legal sanctions as certain, swift, and/orsevere.
Thus, the effectiveness of prohibitionist models is subjective toindividual judgments of the certainty, celerity and severity of sanctionsassociated with illegal drugs. Kennedy (1983) also implies that the modelassumes that individuals think through the legal consequences of their actionsand does not make room for spontaneous actions, which may really be the case indrug use.Ostrowski (1990) claims thatproponents of prohibition view drug use as immoral.
Likewise, Szasz (1985)states that individuals who hold the drug use debate as a moral one approach itas heresy laws are approached; praising those who denounce others as drug usersand dealers. Ostrowski argues that theimmorality of drugs is baseless unless these proponents prove that 1) drug useis indeed immoral 2) government has the right to outlaw immoral behaviour evenwhen these actions do not harm others, and 3) government is effective incurbing drug use in ways that do not evoke more serious problems than drug useitself. Husak(2009) again points out that the fear of punishment is not a significant factorin deterring drug use. He makes the case that if it were, an increase in theseverity and frequency of punishment should cause an even more deterringeffect. He notes however that tougher punishments associated with drug use inthe United States of America resulted in a slight increase and in some cases nochange at all in drug use after the 1990s.Ostrowski(1990) believes prohibition is at best a consoling illusion.
According to him, it is naïve to think thatthreats prohibitive laws pose are instrumental in preventing moderate drugusers from buying drugs given the existence of the black market, which operatesin broad daylight. DecriminalizationModel Accordingto Goode (2005), decriminalization refers to the abolishment of all criminalpenalties for drugs. He explains that under the decriminalization model, thegovernment plays no role in the purchasing and sales of any drug but instead,leaves the distribution of drugs to the free interplay of demand andsupply.
Husak (2009) also says that if agiven drug is decriminalized, its use and possession for use would not be acriminal offense and so individuals would not be subject to punishment forengaging in the use of the drug. Svrakic et al (2012) indicate that underdecriminalization, the drug remains illegal; however, the legal system does notput an individual on trial for possession under a specified quantity of thedrug. The penalties range from nopenalties at all, civil fines, drug education and drug treatment.
Critiquesof Decriminalization Model Husak (2009) believes that the main argumentcritics of decriminalization hold is that removing the penalties on drug usewill spark off an increase in drug use since the drugs will become moreaffordable. He refutes this argument saying the prices of decriminalized drugswill be subject to taxation in a way that neither makes their prices too highto cause the reappearance of the black market and too low to encourage frequentpurchase. However, Kleiman and Saiger (1990) maintain that any policy thateliminates the penalties on drugs is expected to increase its consumption atleast minimally. They seem to hold theview that decriminalization does not affect the prices of drugs in any way andso will encourage the black market since consumption is made easier by theremoval of penalties. Husak(2009) also anticipates that another argument from individuals opposed todecriminalization will be that decriminalization removes the non-monetary costof drugs.
He explains this non-monetarycost as the fear of penalties which proponents of prohibitionist laws believeare effective in deterring individuals from using drugs. Husak maintains thisargument is invalid since the effectiveness of these laws in deterringindividuals through penalties cannot be accounted for. There are certain schools strong in their insistence that thetreaties’ prohibitionist outlook, aimed at controlling supply, cannoteffectively tackle the issue of addiction. The Johns Hopkins University–LancetCommission on Public Health and International Drug Policy, for instance, advocatesfor a worldwide reform of drug policies14.
Rather than prohibition, decriminalization and harm reduction policies are saidto be better means of reducing and ultimately eradicating narcotic drugaddiction. 1.3.
2. UN Narcotic Drug Control Treaties – Prohibitionist in Nature 1.3.3. Ghana as aParty to the UN Narcotic Drug Control Treaties1.4. Statement ofPurposeThis research effort has two main objectives: 1) To find out whether there exist gaps between the mandates ofthe UN narcotic drug control treaties and Ghana’s local legislation on narcoticdrugs 2) To determine whether a decriminalization and harm reductionpolicy may be legally adopted in Ghana without infringing any provisions of theUN 1.5.
Research Questions 1) To what extent does Ghana’s local legislation on narcotic drugsconform to the requirements of the UN narcotic drug control treaties? 2. Are decriminalization and harm reduction policies subsumableunder the requirements of the UN narcotic drug control treaties? 1.6.
Definition of Terms 1.6.1. Narcotic Drugs1.6.2. UN narcotic drug control treaties1.
6.3. Decriminalization and harm reduction policies 1.7. ResearchMethodology Qualitative in nature, this study will employ desk research ofrelevant UN international treaties together with their commentaries,international legal documents and jurisprudence on treaty interpretation aswell as Ghana’s legislation on narcotic drugs. The snowball approach will beused to gather as much information as possible on the subject from secondarysources. Interviews of officials from Ghana’s Narcotic Drug Control Board(NACOB) will also be conducted to gain insight on the implementation ofinternational treaty requirements in the country. In a comparative analysis,Ghana’s legislation on narcotic drugs will be checked for conformity with theUN Narcotic Drug Control Treaties.
1.8. Significance ofStudy As earlier stated, thisresearch effort has two main objectives: 1) to find out whether there existgaps between the mandates of the UN narcotic drug control treaties and Ghana’slocal legislation on narcotic drugs and 2) to determine whetherdecriminalization and harm reduction policies may be legally adopted in Ghanawithout infringing any provisions of the UN narcotic drug control treaties. The first objective is important in ascertaining whether or not Ghana’snarcotic legislation shows an abidance by the Principle of Pacta Sunt Servanda,the very important value of standing by one’s word, which forms the foundationof all international treaties. In recent times, there have been many deliberations in Ghanaconcerning the adoption of decriminalization.
The main focus of the discussionhas been on the possible effects of such an adoption and not on the feasibilityof the same. Addressing one aspect of feasibility with regard to Ghana’scurrent narcotic legislation, the second objective of the study will answer thefundamental question of whether the country can explore decriminalization andharm reduction policies as a means of curbing drug addiction while remaining astate party to the treaties. 1.9. ChapterArrangements Chapter 1: Introduction and Background of StudyThis section introduces the topic of study by providing a researchbackground on the history, nature and pharmacology of narcotic drugs, the uses,advantages and disadvantages of narcotic drugs as well as narcotic drugaddiction both in general and within Ghana.
Following this is the legalbackground which gives insight to the reasons for state interventions innarcotic drug use, legal approaches to control narcotic drug use and addiction,the UN narcotic drug treaties and Ghana as a party to the same. Next, a statementis made on the purpose of the research and the research questions areenumerated. The chapter closes with definitions of the main terms referred toin the research, an outline of the methodology employed as well as thesignificance of the study. Chapter 2: Literature Review This section examines scholarly literature and concepts ofrelevance to the research.
It sets the tone with an explanation of the nature of treaties and the Principleof Pacta Sunt Servanda. Thereafter, it outlines the two approaches todomestication of international treaties under the doctrines of monism anddualism. Next, it outlines the history and requirements of each of the UNnarcotic drug control treaties. Finally, the chapter examines the provisionsunder Ghana’s current local narcotic drug legislation. Chapter 3: Findings and Discussion In the light of the Principle of Pacta Sunt Servanda, this chaptercompares the requirements of the UN narcotic drug policy with Ghana’s currentlocal legislation and presents the gaps between the two.
Based on theapproaches to interpretation discussed in the previous chapter, the possibilityof a subsumption of decriminalization and harm reduction policies under the UNnarcotic drug treaties is discussed. Chapter 4: Conclusion and Recommendation The final chapter provides recommendations to Ghana’s narcoticdrug legislation based on the research findings and considering the provisions ofthe Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2015. 1 ……..2 Goldstein (1985)3 Goldstein (1985)4 NewYork Post (1984)5 Goldstein(1985),6 Goldstein(1985),7 Yablon(2011), Inciardi (2008), Goode (2005) and Husak (2005)8 Goode 20059Ibid10Inciardi 200811 McBride et al (200112 Goode (2005)13 Ibid14 ….