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Papua New Guinea

Alcohol, drug abuse review taken to UOG

Most of the laws relating to drug and alcohol abuse are colonial laws not suitable to effectively policing the current trend of abuse caused by these illicit substances.

This was the confession made by a team from the Constitutional Law Reform Commission, which visited the University of Goroka last Friday.

The CLRC in their Issues Paper 12, 2018, “Review of Laws on Use and Abuse of Alcohol and Drugs”, stated that there was only four pieces of legislation governing the production, import, export, supply, sale and disposal of and consumption of alcohol.

They are the Excise Beer Act, 1952; Distillation Act, 1952; Liqour Licensing Act, 1963 and the Liqour (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1973.

The four Acts are empowered by the Summary Offences Act 1977; Criminal Code Act 1974 and the former Motor Traffic Act 1950, which was recently amended.

Acting Deputy Secretary for CLRC Secretariat Dorothy Mimiko, said that together with the Dangerous Drug Act 1952, all was very much outdated, and needed amending.

“There are 12 laws dating far back as 1952 and those legislations are currently being used which a lot of people aren’t familiar with. The government recently increased liquor infringement laws to K1000 but that is still awaiting certification”.

Based on directions by the Justice Minister, the team has been covering areas doing awareness with various stakeholders only in Port Moresby but totally missed the Education Department and Department of High Education, Research, Science and Technology.

Pro vice chancellor, policy and planning, Donald Gumbis, when making his closing remarks said that Education department in all its facets needed to be included in future discussions.

He said sentiments shared by staff and students were that there be more awareness by including this topic as part of a curriculum for children in schools; that there be increased penalties as a deterrent; name branding of local major brewers not to be used in sports as it sends wrong signals and that there be a proper implementing agency to adequately police these vices.

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