by Sakeus Iikela

THE government is drafting a law that could potentially make the advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship of alcohol and other dependence-inducing substances in Namibia illegal.

The draft bill, seen by The Namibian and titled ‘The Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use’, aims to curb the negative impacts of certain substances, among other things. The proposed law would therefore ban the advertisement and promotion of highly addictive and illegal narcotic drugs that affect mental performance, and cause changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behaviour. This includes substances such as heroin, dagga, alcohol and other intoxicating substances. By implication, this would include commercially produced alcoholic beverages.

Among the many aims and objectives of the draft bill is a proposal to establish a National Drug Control Commission and regional substance use control forums, which would be tasked with registering all service providers – producers, importers and retailers who distribute substances targeted under the proposed law. 
The above-mentioned commission would also establish the administrative and regulatory framework “within which service providers must provide their services”. 
It will further provide for a comprehensive national response to combat the use of substances, and to reduce the demand for and harm caused by substance use.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services, which is leading the process to draft this bill, engaged stakeholders and affected industries to submit inputs between May and September this year.

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