Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Africa


Extent of Drug Abuse

Cannabis is reported to be the most abused drug in Sudan, followed by Diazepam.  Other drugs abused include barbiturates, heroin and cocaine.  No data relating to prevalence is available (U.N. 1991).

            A plant called "Argemone Mexicana" from the papaveraceae family, which grows in different areas of the country, is reported frequently consumed by natives (U.N. 1991).

Abuser Characteristics

Since drug abuse is considered an anti-social behaviour in Sudan, people tend to deny that they are drug abusers (U.N. 1991).

                                                                       Regional Variations

Cannabis is consumed in the central area of Sudan as well as in the south.  Other drugs are mostly abused in Khartoum (U.N. 1991).

            Although the plant "Argemone Mexicana" grows in different areas of the country, it is particularly abundant in the northern regions (U.N. 1991).


A large increase in the abuse of cocaine, barbiturates and other unspecified drugs was reported for 1991.  A large decrease was reported in the abuse of heroin and cannabis.  The decrease in cannabis abuse is attributed to efforts made by the police (Drug Combat Administration), and the decrease in availability caused by crop eradication (U.N. 1991).

Mode of Intake

Heroin and cocaine are either inhaled or injected.  Cannabis is smoked and barbiturates are ingested (U.N. 1991).

            Patterns of multiple drug abuse, such as cocaine and heroin taken with alcohol and cannabis, are reported (U.N. 1991).

            The plant "Argemone Mexicana" is often consumed with the native alcoholic drink "Aragi" (U.N. 1991).


The abuse of the plant "Argemone Mexicana" has caused many deaths, especially in the town of Abri (U.N. 1991).



National Strategy

The Government of Sudan recently began to take a serious interest in narcotics matters, and is addressing eradication, prosecution, and treatment.  In 1989, it established a Drug Combat Administration (DCA).  The Government is drafting a new narcotics law which will for the first time deal with synthetic drugs and drug treatment, and lower the penalty for first time users.  Repeat violators of anti-trafficking laws, however, can be hanged; two drug dealers have been hung since the government took power in 1989 (INCSR 1993).

                                                    Structure of National Drug Control Organs

The central government unit responsible for liaison and coordination of national drug control policy is the Drug Combat Administration. The Ministry of Health is the competent authority for the issuance of authorizations and certificates for the import and export of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.


                                                                         Treaty Adherence

Sudan is party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention.

            Sudan recently signed cooperative agreements with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey for fighting drug trafficking (INCSR 1993).

                                                 Measures Taken with Respect to Drug Control

Recently enacted laws and regulations:
None reported.

Licensing system for manufacture, trade and distribution:
There is a government-controlled licensing system. It was noted that the effectiveness of the licensing system could be further improved by upgrading existing inspection facilities. No manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances was reported.

Control system:
(i) Prescription requirement: There is a prescription requirement for supply or dispensation of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
(ii) Warnings on packages: The law does not require warnings on packages or accompanying leaflet information to safeguard the users of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
(iii) Control of non-treaty substances, if any: None reported.
(iv) Other administrative measures: None reported.

                                                                          Social Measures

Penal sanctions related to social measures: In 1992, courts applied measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation or social reintegration for a drug-related offence in addition to conviction or punishment.

Other social measures: A clinic for drug abusers was reported having been opened in 1991. A series of lectures were held to raise awareness about the problem. University students were assisted in establishing projects concerning drug abuse. In 1992, television programmes concerning drug abuse were broadcast.


                                                       DEMAND REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Primary Prevention

The mass media (television, newspapers, magazines and radio) promote drug prevention programmes (CMO 1991).

            Preventive education activities such as seminars and classes are available from primary schools through higher educational institutions.  Other prevention activities are targeted especially at youth and parents (CMO 1991).

            Basic drug education programmes are part of the education of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social and other health workers and teachers (CMO 1991).

            Community-wide programmes are implemented by religious and political groups as well as by law enforcement agencies (CMO 1991).

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Only small and limited treatment facilities are available, which are free of charge.  No other information concerning treatment programmes and facilities has been reported (CMO 1991).


                                                        SUPPLY REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Arrests, Convictions and Types of Offenses

In 1991, 2,171 persons were convicted for drug related offenses (1,471 for possession/abuse and 700 for trafficking) (U.N. 1991).


In 1992, 65,741.494 kg of cannabis plants (including cannabis herb), 0.504 kg of heroin, 10.000 kg of khat, 10.000 kg of depressants and 3.000 kg of stimulants were seized (U.N. 1992).

            In 1991, 52,971.260 kg of cannabis herb, 10,084 kg of cannabis plants, 0.041 kg of cocaine (base and salts), 0.055 kg of heroin and 155,736 units of depressants were seized.  Stimulants were also seized, but the quantity has not been reported (U.N. 1991).

                                                                    Supply Source of Drugs

Cannabis is cultivated in a number of provinces in Sudan, and traditional methods are used for preparing it for smoking. It is cultivated in commercial quantities in the south of Darfur (the largest producing area in Sudan), south of Blue Nile, at El-Gadaref and in the Upper Nile and Bahr El-Ghazal regions (Sudan 1993).

            Sudan is a transit country connecting the Arab and African regions (Sudan 1993).



References and Notes

U.N. 1991, 1992. Replies to the UNDCP "Annual Reports Questionnaire" for the years 1991 and 1992.

CMO 1991. Reply to UNDCP questionnaire concerning the seven targets of the "Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control", 1991.

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

Sudan 1993.  "Report of Sudan to the Sixth Meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA)".   Africa, Abidjan, 24 to 28 May 1993.


** 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 based on Annual Reports Questionnaire 1991-92.