Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

Producing alcohol and other drugs as a policy 'problem': a critical analysis of South Africa's 'National Drug Master Plan' (2013-2017)

journal contribution
posted on 2016-04-01, 00:00 authored by Kiran PienaarKiran Pienaar, M Savic
Background: The strong symbolic value of illicit drug use makes it a contested issue, which attracts mixed public opinion, intense media attention and close political scrutiny. This means that the formulation of plausible, authoritative policies governing illicit drugs must navigate fraught political terrain. In a country like South Africa with its long unique history of institutionalised oppression of the black majority, the issues confronting drug policy are particularly complex and the need for carefully formulated policy responses especially urgent. Yet despite this, the area of drug policy development in South Africa has received little scholarly attention to date. Methods: This paper explores the complexities of policymaking in the South African context by drawing on feminist scholar Carol Bacchi's poststructuralist approach to policy analysis, which focuses on how policy helps to produce the problems it purports to solve. Taking as its empirical focus, South Africa's current drug policy, the third National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), 2013-2017, the paper analyses how the policy constitutes the 'problem of alcohol and other drugs' (AODs). Results: We identify three central policy proposals through which specific problematisations emerge: (1) the proposal that drug use is a global issue requiring a coordinated policy response, (2) appeals to evidence-based policy proposals and (3) the proposal that AOD 'use' and 'abuse' be treated interchangeably. We suggest that these proposals reveal a tendency towards inflating the 'problem of AODs' and thus work to justify punitive policy measures. Conclusions: In an effort to explore the implications of particular problematisations for effecting social change, we clarify the ways in which the policy may work to undermine the interests of those it seeks to aid by reinforcing stigma and marginalisation.

History

Journal

International journal of drug policy

Volume

30

Pagination

35-42

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

0955-3959

eISSN

1873-4758

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Elsevier

Usage metrics

    Research Publications

    Categories

    No categories selected

    Exports

    RefWorks
    BibTeX
    Ref. manager
    Endnote
    DataCite
    NLM
    DC