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Public health issue



A third of the 700,000 Brazilians arrested spend time for drug trafficking. Our condition is growing faster. This is not about improving the country's police and legal competence. Again, in the structural capacity of Brazilian society to maximize inequalities.

In theory, since 2006, the legislation establishes that the drug user should not be punished with the chain – only with alternative sanctions, such as providing services to the community or taking part in courses. educational. In practice, due to a lack of objective criteria in the difference between a consumer and a trader, responsible for police officers, prosecutors and judges, a large part of the Brazilian prison population classified as a trader is, in fact, drug users or micro t – traders, generally poor.

Brazil needs to recognize the failure of the “war on drugs” policy – as it was called by US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – with a focus on oppression and imprisonment. In 40 years, despite the billions spent on tackling drug trafficking, there has only been an increase.

A significant part of the world has already done so. In 30 of the 50 states in the United States, through its local laws, possession of drugs for recreational or medical use was decriminalized. Portugal changed its policy in 2001. It legalized all drugs for its own use, adopted clear parameters to distinguish between consumers and traders and emphasized the health treatment of dependents. Since then, it has reduced the number of deaths from drug use. In 2018, Canada followed the same route. Uruguay has adopted the most radical policy in the world. It was legalized not only the use, but also the home-grown marijuana, and allowed the trade in networks of pharmacies.

The Federal Supreme Court next month will review the composition of the anti-drug law article preventing the arrest of consumers. The recent history of the highest Court of Justice shows that it has adopted, in socio-behavioral matters – such as legalizing marriage of the same sex or abortion of anealic fetuses – senior positions, in front of those responsible for t drafting laws. Declaration of nonconformity will criminalize drug users, albeit historically, but means a first step towards updating Brazilian policy for the sector.

Current drug law is unfair, punitive and ineffective. The pressure to insist on failure has wide and varied origin. The explosion in prison numbers for human trafficking did not reduce or cause the use of narcotics to fall. Conversely, by arresting people without links to organized crime in prisons managed by criminal organizations, vicious gear is being fed.

Alongside legal and prison issues, there is a need to invest time and money in the public health approach. Recent research shows that marijuana users are at greater risk of developing mental illness, increased risk of alcohol misuse and heavy drugs, and increased risk of auto accidents. These findings show that the issue is not easy, but makes it clear that public health is the issue, not the police.


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