Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Drug Abuse in Africa

Extent of Drug Abuse

Datura (known as "Katiddatabe" or "Katidiantabי"), a wild plant with hallucinogenic properties similar to LSD, is reported abused by young persons but avoided by habitual drug abusers (UNESCO 1988).

            Other significant drugs of abuse are psychotropic substances, locally known as "pions", and mainly sedative hypnotics, tranquilizers ("Diazepam") and stimulants (UNESCO 1988).

            In a 1990 survey conducted among 351 prison inmates, 79.9 per cent reported abusing cannabis, 12.5% medical preparations, 1.1 per cent heroin and 0.9 per cent volatile substances. The frequency of drug abuse reported by prison inmates is as follows: one time abuse (8.8%), occasionally (54.1), daily (26.6%), several time per day (10.5%). About 53.6 per cent were considered drug dependent  (Facy and Delile 1990).

            According to a 1990 study among 51 patients in drug related treatment in a hospital, 60.8 per cent abuse cannabis, 19.6 per cent abuse medical preparations and 7.8 per cent abuse heroin. About 6 per cent abused a drug once in their lifetime, 40 per cent from time to time, 32 per cent daily and 22 per cent several times a day. About 70.3 per cent of the patients were considered drug dependent abusers (Facy and Delile 1990).

            In 1988, a sample survey was conducted among 7,677 young persons, 15 to 24 years of age, 5,585 students and 2,092 non-students. Survey findings indicate that 10.9 per cent of the youth abused tranquilizers.  About 1.4 per cent of the youth surveyed, abused tranquilizers "often" or "very often". Further, about 14 per cent of the youth abused at least one illicit drug, 6.9 per cent abused cannabis, 5.9 per cent abused "pions", 5.1 per cent abused "guinze", 2.1 per cent abused "hard drugs" such as morphine, heroin or cocaine and 1.6 per cent abused datura (UNESCO 1988).

            Limited abuse of heroin, cocaine and volatile solvents are also reported (U.N. 1989).

Abuser Characteristics

Drug abusers tend to be young persons between 18 and 25 years of age (U.N. 1987).

            According to the UNESCO 1988 survey among youth, 12.2 per cent of females and 10.4 per cent of males take tranquilizers,  2.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively take them regularly.  Results from the study also show that 6.2 per cent of the youth who are 15 years of age or less have taken an illicit drug; among persons 23 years of age or older, abuse increases to 25.7 per cent.  Drug abuse among students is lower than among youth out of school. A total of 1 out of 6 boys and 1 out of 11 girls have already had experiences with an illicit drug.  Among persons 15 years of age or less, 1 per cent have already consumed a "hard drug" (morphine, heroin, or cocaine). Cannabis is the most abused drug among males and "pions" among females (UNESCO 1988).


                                                                       Regional Variations

Drugs are reported to be abused mainly in urban areas (U.N. 1987).

            The rate of illicit drug consumption varies according to regions: consumption is the highest in Kaolack (21.5 per cent take at least one drug), followed closely by Fatick (20.9 per cent), Louga (17.2 per cent), Saint Louis (15.5 per cent) and Diourbel (14.9 per cent) (UNESCO 1988).


An increase in cannabis cultivation has been reported in Senegal. Cannabis crops yield higher earnings than traditional crops (mainly peanuts) and an increase in demand for cannabis has been reported in neighbouring Gambia (U.N. 1989).

            Local drug abuse among youths is on the rise (INCSR 1993).

            Senegalese are increasingly involved in international narcotics activities, including the false document industry (INCSR 1993).

Mode of Intake

Datura is either smoked or consumed orally in a tea infusion (UNESCO 1988).  Cannabis is either ingested or smoked and opiates (heroin and morphine) are taken orally or inhaled (U.N. 1987).



Deaths resulting from drug abuse were not reported for 1990 (Senegal 1991).



National Strategy

The Narcotics Commission ("la Comission des Stupefiants"), created in 1985, was reactivated in 1987 and since then it is headed by the Minister of the Interior and represented by 11 ministers.  It meets once every three months.  The commission elaborated, in 1987, the project of National Strategy of fight against illicit traffic and drug abuse, which includes activities related to prevention, demand and supply reduction, suppression of illicit traffic and treatment of drug dependent abusers (Mission 1989; Note de Projet- year unknown).



                                                                         Treaty Adherence

Senegal is Party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

                                                       DEMAND REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Primary Prevention

Authorities are concerned about the increase of drug abuse among youth, thus prevention activities are mainly targeted at this group (Senegal 1993).

            The media actively promote drug awareness campaigns.  In June 1992, the Government of Senegal sponsored a drug awareness week, which included a number of television spots and commercials on drug abuse.  The Senegalese Boys Scouts and several voluntary and religious organizations also sponsor anti-drug programmes (INCSR 1993).

            The Ministry of National Education has been asked to introduce drug awareness information in the school curricula.  Similar action is to be launched among cultural and sports associations (Senegal 1993).

            The Ministry of Labour is to introduce drug education in the work-place through contacts with unions and professional associations (Senegal 1993).

Treatment and Rehabilitation

The strategy for treatment and rehabilitation is reported hampered by financial difficulties.

            A treatment Centre in Dakar is planned to begin operation in 1993 (Senegal 1993).


                                                        SUPPLY REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Arrests, Convictions and Types of Offenses

In 1990, 1,677 persons (1,631 males, 46 females) were implicated in drug trafficking, of which 77 were foreigners (HONLEA 1991).  In 1989, 1,165 persons were arrested and convicted for drug related offenses (U.N. 1989).

            Most arrests were related to cannabis (953), followed by psychotropic substances (632), heroin trafficking (45) and cocaine trafficking (44) (Senegal 1991).


Illicit trafficking and quantities of illicit drugs seized have increased according to 1989 Annual Reports Questionnaire (U.N. 1989).

            In 1992, 700.481 kg of cannabis herb, 75 units of cannabis plants, 0.861 kg of cocaine (base and salts) and 1.245 kg of heroin were seized (ICPO/Interpol 1992).

            In 1991, 389.184 kg of cannabis herb, 218.400 kg of cannabis resin, 20.340 kg of cocaine (base and salts), 10.776 kg of opium (raw and prepared) and 68,581 units of stimulants were seized (ICPO/Interpol 1991).

            Most seizures made in 1990 involved cannabis (946 seizures totaling more than 4.5 tons, of which almost 4 tons related to trafficking and/or consumption, and 500 kg to cultivation).  There were 231 seizures of psychotropic substances (totalling 15,768 tablets).  Cocaine (13) and heroin (19) seizures totalled 5.7 kg and 24.8 kg respectively (Senegal 1991).

            In 1987, an important operation was undertaken in Casamance, which allowed for the destruction of 12 tons of harvested cannabis as well as of 30 cannabis fields (Mission 1989).

                                                                    Supply Source of Drugs

Cannabis is locally cultivated, mainly along the northern border of Gambia and in the marshy Iles-du-Saloum.  Senegalese cannabis is reportedly not considered of good quality (i.e., high potency). It has been reported that cannabis of better quality, called "Lopito", is imported from Mauritania, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire.  It has also been suggested that Senegalese cannabis is processed into "Lopito" in Gambia (INCSR 1993; Mission 1989).

            Senegal has become an increasingly important transit point, in recent years, for Asian heroin bound for the North American and European markets.  The principal air trafficking routes are the Bombay-Addis Abada-Dakar with Ethiopian Airlines flights and flights to or through Lagos and Abidjan.  Senegalese nationals are increasingly found in the international drug trade, as evidenced by the growing number involved in both fraudulent documentation and drug-related cases in France, Germany and Italy.  Moroccan authorities have also identified growing numbers of Senegalese traffickers transiting Morocco.  Nigerian nationals continue to lead the list of narcotics offenders in Senegal (INCSR 1993).

            Psychotropic substances reach Senegal via Gambia from Bulgaria and Hungary.  Opiates reach Senegal from Asia, and cocaine from Latin America (U.N. 1989).
References and Notes

U.N. 1987, 1989. Rapport Annual pour 1987 & 1989 du Senegal sur la mise en application des Traites Internationaux Relatifs aux Stupefiants et aux substances psychotropes.

Facy and Delile 1990. "Toxicomanies pris en charge en Afrique, enquךte יpidemiologique, rיsultats provisoires".

HONLEA 1991. "Les statistiques annuelles relatives a la production, au trafic et a l'usage des drogues au Senegal pour l'annee 1990", Quatrieme reunion des chefs des services charges au plan national de la lutte contre le trafic illicite des drogues, Afrique (HONLEA), Nairobi, Kenya, 15-19 avril 1991.

ICPO/Interpol 1991, 1992.  Figures reported by ICPO/Interpol.

INCSR 1993.  International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.  April 1993.  United States Department of State.  Bureau of International Narcotics Matters.

Mission 1989.  "Rapport sur une Mission au Senegal".  Du 15 novembre au 2 decembre 1989.  Nations Unies Organe International de Controle des Stupefiants.  Paris, 16 janvier, 1990.

Note de Projet- year unknown.  "Note de prיsentation du Projet de Strategie Nationale de Lutte Contre L'Abus et le Traffic Illicite des Stupיfiants et des Substances Psychotropes".

Senegal 1991. "National Report of Senegal to the 4th Meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA)", Africa, April 1991.

Senegal 1993. "Declaration of Senegal to the 36th Commission on Narcotic Drugs".  2 April, 1993.

UNESCO 1988. "Consommation de drogue par les jeunes au Senegal", Rיsultats de l'enquךte יpidimiologique effectuיe au Sיnיgal sur la consomation de drogue parmi les 15-24 ans, UNESCO March 1988.


** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  The most recent relevant part of the annual reports questionnaire was submitted in 1987.