15th February 2017

New Tunisian draft law on drugs: drug users to be exempted from legal proceedings if they undergo treatment

After a long debate regarding Chapter 12 related to drugs, members of the General Legislation Committee agreed that the consumer of a narcotic substance will be exempted from prosecution throughout the treatment period. This applies to addicts who have chosen to voluntarily register in one of the regional commissions which will be established in various governorates to keep drug users records. The addict must thus undergo treatment in one of the public or private health institutions.

During their meeting on Thursday the 9th of February 2017, members of the Commission also planned to resume examination of this draft law, chapter by chapter and include in the chapter on drug user prosecution a clause allowing judicial authorities and health facilities responsible for the treatment of the drug addict to have access to his or her database in the event of a new legal proceedings against him should he ever relapse into drug addiction.

They stressed that these amendments introduced by the Commission on Chapter 12 of the draft law would encourage young drug users to voluntary seek treatment in licensed health institutions and abide by their rules, and most importantly not relapse into addiction.

On the other hand, the Commission has not yet taken a final decision regarding Chapter 13, which prohibits in its initial version drug consumer from seeking treatment when legal proceedings against him have already started. Members’ views have diverged regarding the appropriate period to impose criminal sanctions on drug users.

The Chairman of the Committee decided to postpone the debate on this chapter pending the validation of chapters 23 and 24 of the draft law on penal sanctions and dissuasive methods targeting narcotics users.

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