By Umaru Kashaka
Legislators on the committee of defence have backed a proposal by Government to establish a special Fund to meet the capital and current expenditure of rehabilitation centres for narcotic or psychotropic substance addicts.
This was during their meeting to put final touches on their report on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Bill, 2007 that was retabled by internal affairs state minister, James Baba early last year.
The policy behind the Bill is to adopt measures to criminalize drug related offences under domestic law in conformity with Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic and psychotropic substance and other related international conventions.
The committee chaired by the Mubende Woman MP Benny Namugwanya noted that the funds will enable the rehabilitation centers to provide for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of persons addicted to the drugs.
“Let’s be like Kenya where this Fund is in place. We should also think of upgrading Butabika hospital so that it can have its own addiction counselors and enough man power to prevent, control and mitigate the impact of drug abuse,” the Budaka County MP Kezekia Mbogo said.
According to the Bill, the Fund shall consist of sums provided by Parliament; portions of the property forfeited to the State and sums or other property received by the Fund as fees, contributions, gifts or grants from or as testamentary bequest by, any person, among others.
“Subject to this Part, the Fund shall be administered by a Board consisting of three members; the Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry responsible for health and two other persons appointed by the Minister responsible for finance,” states the Bill.
It says a court which convicts any person for an offence under this Act may, if it is satisfied that that person is addicted to a narcotic drug and that he or she is in possession of it only for his or her personal consumption, order that a part, of the period of imprisonment imposed on him or her be spent in a centre specified by the court.