Heroin epidemic ravages northern region
Publish date: 07 October 2019
Issue Number: 844
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
In a filthy squat in a beach town in northern Morocco, drug users inject and smoke heroin, a relatively recent scourge plaguing a region long known for cannabis and contraband. ‘I shoot up four or five times a day,’ said 34-year-old Rachid outside a police station in M'diq, a Mediterranean resort near the city of Tetouan. A dose of the powerful opiate they heat on aluminium foil sells for between up to $7 for a tenth of a gram. A report on the News24 site notes that a team from the Association for the Fight Against AIDS (ALCS) visits the addicts every week to hand out syringes to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV and hepatitis. The sale and consumption of heroin is illegal in Morocco, but thanks to the efforts of ALCS in Tetouan, ‘it is very rare that users are arrested for their own personal consumption’. That’s according to Dr Mohamed El Khammas who runs the harm reduction programme launched by ALCS in 2009. The association believes there are likely several thousand heroin users in Tetouan alone.