Original Source: Coalition of Organizations in Colombia (see signers below)
[Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator.]
October 6, 2011
Mr. German Vargas Lleras
Minister of the Interior
Re: Request from working groups for dialogue and debate about the bill for the new National Statute on Drugs and Psychoactive Substances, which will modify Law 30 of 1986
Respected Minister,
Being aware of the intention of the national government to update the national policy on psychoactive substances by a reform of the National Statute on Drugs (Law 30 of 1986), a group of citizens has come together to study the national government’s proposal, in the spirit of lending support in its construction, from different sectors, such as academe, researchers, political operatives, centers of service to users, organized users, international organizations, etc.
We want to request of you, Minister, that you create five working groups with the intention of debating, dialoguing, and jointly putting together a proposal that responds to the reality of the traffic and use of psychoactive substances. For these working groups we have selected experts, researchers and citizens of the highest level to have dialogues with institutions.
General principles
The working groups must be binding; what arises from them must be taken into account at the moment of updating the national statute on drugs and psychoactive substances. We know that we have convergent and distant positions, at times irreconcilable, and we equally understand that the power to decide rests with you, but a sincere and respectful debate will provide good dividends. To achieve that end, there has to be a record of what is discussed, reporting it in the communications media and in the Congress or some other control mechanism. International networks will take responsibility for overseeing what is agreed upon in the work groups.
General criticism of the focus of the government’s proposal
The government’s proposal does not fit in structural ways with the “National Policy for the Reduction of the Use of Psychoactive Substances and their Impact.” There exists no evidence that would justify the persecution of users of psychoactive substances as an effective policy for diminishing use. To center itself on imposing sanctions and on the criminalization of all activities that have to do with use would threaten the legal sustainability of the statute. We recommend using the category “psychoactive substance” rather than drug or narcotic, since this would permit dealing with the phenomenon from a perspective that covers all the substances, both the legal ones (alcohol, tobacco) and those that are subject to prosecution; in both cases, their use can have a great impact on public health.
Suggestion for work groups.

1)   Narcotics trafficking and security. The current strategy in this country has not been an effective mechanism for doing away with the criminal structure behind narcotics trafficking. For the vast majority of persons imprisoned for drug crimes it has not been possible to prove that they have important links with trafficking, casting doubt on the sustainability of this as a prosecutorial strategy. We have to think about focusing our efforts on combating the unintended effects of the current policy on psychoactive substances, such as violence and corruption, and not in pursuing in general every activity connected with psychoactive substances subject to prosecution. To oblige owners of public establishments and teachers to denounce every bit of use undermines the confidence necessary for good functioning. There must be a social control based on coexistence and reconciliation, not on persecution and betraying people.


2)   Crops and alternate development: Production and carrying of psychoactive substances for personal use is permitted by international treaties. We have to think about formalizing methods so that the users themselves produce what they consume and in so doing reroute resources that in the normal course of events would end up financing criminal activities. In particular, we cannot criminalize the possession of seeds. It is indispensable that a system to regulate products based on coca be implemented. It is necessary to remove the incentive for farmers to depend on illicit crops, through fomenting alternative means of earning their living, while respecting the autonomous proposals of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, and never through forceful eradication. The sustainability of the national policy on psychoactive substances might be threatened if a focus on force prevails, one that criminalizes the planters, in order to establish agreements on “voluntary” eradication. We have to discuss the effectiveness and the constitutionality of aerial spraying: What is the justification for poisoning the soil of our country, and in particular protected areas, with a chemical weapon? How helpful is it that the National Police be at the same time judge and jury in getting information and making decisions on the complaints related to damages caused to third parties by the effects of the fumigations? To continue concentrating alternative strategies for illicit crops in this same body sends an incorrect and counter-productive message. The decisions about using force and criminalization cannot continue to be the nucleus of the treatment of users and producers of the basic materials of psychoactive substances.


3)   Use, attention and prevention: The use of psychoactive substances is a reality. As a consequence, the focus cannot be centered exclusively on preventing it. We must also implement policies aimed at risk reduction and mitigation of damage. It is not possible to penalize every use, as this drives away those who need attention at medical centers. In particular, use by itself cannot be a sufficient criterion for destroying or distorting the family unit, penalizing expectant or lactating mothers and separating minors who are users from their schools and homes. We have to think about to what point it is useful to show every user as one more victim, since this might undermine the legal sustainability of the policy on psychoactive substances.


4)   Institutionalizing policy and international cooperation: It is indispensable on one hand to have participation by citizens, and in particular by users, in the design and implementation of the national policy on psychoactive substances, and on the other to have a budget established as part of the Development Plan to finance the policy of prevention of use, risk reduction, damage mitigation and generating opportunities for vulnerable populations. Additionally, a part of the taxes collected from the use of psychoactive substances (tobacco and alcohol), and 40% of the goods seized from the narcotics traffickers should complement this budget. We must create links with international non-governmental organizations so that with their influence some of the money confiscated from narcotics traffickers in other countries can also be used, and in this way encourage international cooperation. Looking at a new policy on psychoactive substances, it is necessary, first to identify where the current policy has been correct, and where it has not. Second, an accounting of the National Council on Drugs, we especially need a profound accounting of the failure of the National Drugs Administration. For its part, alternative development can not go on depending on resources from international cooperation programs; as a result, strategies have to be designed that provide sustainability to the programs, and at the same time to focus them on those places where illicit crops are repeatedly planted, principally in the areas being colonized [i.e., areas, formerly forest for the most part, that people are moving in to—SC]. The money seized from the narcotics traffickers must support a sustainable development strategy that provides an alternative to illicit crops.


5)   Science, research, teaching about psychoactive substances and cultural change: The solution to the problems linked to psychoactive substances is not courses or classes in preventing use. The great campaigns centered on messages are very costly and not only do they not reduce use, but they have a boomerang effect, increasing it. Preferable are local campaigns focused on geographic areas, social groups, or specific substances and problems, since they are more effective and less costly. The communications media have to be brought in, offering them orientations that allow an agreement about how to handle the topic. Equally, teachers, health workers and officers of the law have to be trained. We have to begin to change the mentality that associates psychoactive substances with crime: the problem is not in the substance, but in the use that is made of it. We have to confront equally the reality that not every addiction is curable, but every one is manageable. Addiction could become a chronic condition, not a moral failing that can be corrected with a few weeks of treatment. Education based on scientific evidence is the most effective, and therefore it is indispensable that we promote research on psychoactive substances.

The use of psychoactive substances is a risky activity that can have a great impact on public health; that is why there is a necessity for a policy that confronts it. The traffic in psychoactive substances subject to prosecution creates great problems for the nation; that is why it is necessary to have a policy that combats it. Unfortunately, the current strategy of struggle against psychoactive substances is very costly and has not been effective in eradicating the problem. In the best of the cases it has worked to contain it, but in the majority of cases it has aggravated it.
Within the new paradigm of fiscal sustainability of public policies, it is indispensable that the government identify which policies have produced results and which have not, since in the area of psychoactive substances the most costly policies have generally been the least effective. That is why we want to ask you, Minister, that you take advantage of the human capital of the nation; there are many of us who have accumulated experience in this area and we want to serve our country. Together we can construct a policy that not only serves our country, but that is an example for the entire region.
We attach more specific arguments to give a basis to the debate, and these are the domestic and international organizations that accompany us in this proposal up to this point:


FAUDAS Federación Estatal de asociaciones de personas usuarias de drogas – [Government Federation of associations of persons who are drug users] — Spain

ASUD – Association des usagers de drogues [Association of drug users] – France

ENCOD European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies — Europe


15 M Políticas de drogas y Sostenibilidad [Policies on drugs and sustainability]- Spain

ESPOLEA – México

Cultura Joven [Young Culture]– Mexico


ASAUPAM Asociación de intervención comunitaria en drogas [Association for community intervention on drugs] – Barcelona

AUPA`M Agrupación de usuarios y profesionales del Bus de metadona [Methadone users and professionals group]– Barcelona

CASO PORTUGAL Consumidores organizados sobreviven asociados [Users organized survive together]– Portugal

ARSU – FESTA Reducción de riesgos y mitigación de daños [Risk reduction and damage mitigation] – Spain

RARUS – Red Argentina Reducción de Riesgos y daños [Argentina network on risk and damage reduction]  – Argentina



ATS Corporación Acción Técnica Social [Technical Social Action Organization] — Bogotá

Échele Cabeza cuando se dé en la cabeza [Think about it when you’re going to be hit in the head]– Bogotá

Proyecto Legalización Colombia [Colombia Legalization Project] – Cali

Colombiannabis – Bogotá

CCC Comunidad Cannabica de Colombia [Cannabis using Community of Colombia]– Medellín

Caliweed – Cali

Unión Cannabica de Bogotá [Cannabis Users Union of Bogotá]

Las plantas no son como las pintan [The plants are not what they make them out to be]– Cali

Universidad Pedagógica Nacional [National Pedagogical University]– Bogotá

Estudiantes por una política de drogas Sensata [Students for a sensible drug policy]– Bogotá

Dosis de Personalidad [A Dose of Personality] – Bogotá

Hoja Blanca [White Leaf] – Bogotá

Movimiento Cannabico de Barranquilla Colombia [Cannabis Users Movement of Baranquilla, Colombia] – Barranquilla

Fundación Procrear [The Procreate Foundation] – Bogotá

Corporación Temeride [Temeride Foundation]– Pereira

Consentidos – Bogotá

Arca de Noe [Noah’s Ark] – Pasto

FUNDASER – Popayán

Corporación Viviendo [Living Foundation] – Cali


To move forward in the debate, you can communicate with:


Julián Quintero – – Cel 3103307504


Ricardo Vargas – – 2328575


Raul Felix Tovar – – Cel 3148906515

National Statute on Drugs and Psychoactive Substances


Principles, considerations and orientations for the debate

We assume that the ultimate goal of the Statute on Psychoactive Substances must be caring for the health of the Colombian people, that for such a goal the laws that regulate the use of psychoactive substances must be oriented toward public health policies, evaluated and implemented with an empirical focus, and that the laws that regulate production must be oriented toward sustainable policies.
The topic of the use of psychoactive substances is complex, and in order to understand it we must overcome the dialectic according to which there exist only two categories of users, those who are not users and those who are users, without starting to distinguish within the latter the different types: experimental, recreational, habitual, compulsive, problematic and dependent.[1] The taxonomy of users must not correspond to a philosophical position, but to reality.
Understanding the right to the free development of the personality and a mechanism of protection of minorities, a user of psychoactive substances cannot be penalized nor deprived of liberty for the act of consuming without another limitation that imposes on the situation the rights of others and judicial order. In the same way, obligatory treatment must be prohibited.
  1. International Framework


i. In the whole world it is recognized that the use of psychoactive substances can destroy many lives, but the current strategy has not been effective either in reducing use or in mitigating the harm; on the contrary, it has made them worse.[i]

ii.    A great number of legislators, scientists, health specialists, politicians and officers of the law have called for a radical change in the policy on the control of psychoactives. Among them are found the signers of the Global commission on Drug Policy[ii] and of the Declaration of Vienna.[iii]

iii.  The chain of production, transport, preparation and use is a phenomenon increasingly local and less global,[iv] which requires that communities face up to the reality of use and look for ways to minimize the harm related to it.

iv.  Applying the laws that penalize the possession and use of psychoactive substances distracts the authorities from combating crimes that directly affect third parties.{2]

v.    The tendency in western countries is to separate themselves from the paradigm imposed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)[3]

vi.  The most liberal public policy on the control of psychoactive substances to this point was implemented by Portugal in 2001.Ten years later, the experiment has disproved many myths around the necessity of tying ourselves to the INCB paradigm: the use of psychoactives among adolescents has diminished, the number of problematic users has been reduced, the percentage of addicts who seek treatment has gone up, the overcrowding in the jails was reduced, and justice has become more agile.[v]

vii. Programs of needle exchange, of substituting opiates and of giving prescriptions for heroine[4] have demonstrated their efficacy: the number of deaths among the users has been reduced, they have achieved getting addicts to remake their lives and the number of transmissions of HIV among users has been reduced.[vi] [vii][5]

viii.   In several countries there have been civil initiatives by users of psychoactives that are looking to minimize the impact that their use has on society.[6] Such initiatives have to be accepted and legitimated by the State.

ix.  It is increasingly difficult for the United States to finance the “War On Drugs” outside their country. [viii]  [ix] Following the current strategy would oblige the producing countries to finance with their own resources programs in which the senate of the United States does not see results.

x.    Studies show that psychoactive substances that are currently criminalized (e.g. Psilocybin,[x] MDMA,[xi] LSD[xii] and Cannabis) have potential for medical uses so far unknown. These studies are permitted by international treaties on control of psychoactive substances, and must not be obstructed, but rather promoted.

xi.  The local and global public policies that confront use are now being designed and implemented in consultation with organizations and associations of users and users. In western countries, the number of these organizations, such as ASUD, ENCOD, IMPUD, SSDP, is growing.



  1. Context/ Results/ Antecedents of the current strategy

i. The current strategy in our country has not been an effective mechanism for getting rid of the criminal structure behind narco-trafficking.[xiii][7] Making the drug control policy currently in place even worse will not improve this panorama.

ii.    The current strategy for attacking the production of cocaine in our country has not worked.[8] Colombia, despite our great efforts, today continues to be the principal supplier of cocaine.

iii.  The anti-narcotics assistance from Washington has not yet succeeded in significantly reducing or undermining the traffic in psychoactives in Latin America.[xiv]

iv.  In several countries, the laws that control psychoactives that go along with the lines established by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have undermined access to morphine.[xv] Colombia today has a good system of access to anti-pain palliatives,[xvi] and must attempt to not interfere with this accomplishment, but on the contrary improve it.

v.    The military component of Plan Colombia that promotes the use of herbicide chemicals as a weapon to destroy coca violates Article 81 of our Political Constitution.[9]

vi.  A correlation has been established between the intensity with which a community carries out the “War on Drugs” and the violence that it experiences.[xvii]

vii. In many countries of the world the anti-drug laws have brought unprecedented percentages of incarceration, which have brought with them a crisis in the penal system.[xviii] This has negatively affected the social functioning of entire communities, particularly because of the discrimination with which these laws are applied.

viii.   74% of violators of the penal law under whatever kind of protection measures have used some sort of illegal psychoactive substance. This does not indicate a relationship of user-then-criminal, but it makes palpable the high level of exposure to illegal psychoactive substances of the vulnerable, discontent or dissatisfied population.

ix.  Making the penalties for users harsher brings with it the worsening of public health and of prison conditions.[10]

x.    The severity of the policy of control of psychoactives of a country has no relation to the number of users.[xix][11]

xi.  One piece of evidence of the increase in use is the explosion in the heroine users in cities like Pereira, Cúcuta, Medellín, and Santander de Quilichao. The intravenous use of drugs requires special attention because of the risk of HIV transmission.

xii. Punitive laws have separated users from the health services and from preventive programs, and they push them towards environments where the risk of transmission of infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, hepatitis C and B, and tuberculosis) is increased, thereby undermining the public health systems.[xx][12]

xiii.   The global market of illegal substances is enormous; it is estimated to be 320 billion dollars.[xxi] This profit goes on completely beyond the control of the government. It promotes crime, violence and corruption in an uncountable number of communities and has destabilized entire countries like Colombia. Every year in our country 8 billion dollars from narcotics trafficking is laundered,[xxii] which is comparable to a fifth of the 40 billion dollars that Colombia exports legally.[xxiii]

xiv.   Billion of dollars have been wasted in the strategy of the “War on Drugs” in an attempt to control psychoactive substances. This money not only fails to accomplish the established goals, but directly or indirectly it contributes to the damages mentioned above.[xxiv]

xv. 9.1% of all Colombians, that is to say about 4 million persons, have at some time tried an illegal psychoactive substance.[xxv] Adding up the current users of marihuana, cocaine, synthetic drugs, basuco [a very low-quality product of coca processing; in Colombia it tends to be used by street people, indigents, people at the bottom of the social structure—SC] and heroine gives more than half a million persons.[xxvi] To put every use into the category of punishable act would therefore undermine the rule of law.

xvi.   The Court Ruling C221 of 1994, which allows the possession and use of a personal dose, is still in force. The constitutional reform 002 of 2009, which prohibits it, has still not been given enabling regulations. The Ministries of the Interior, Finance, and Social Protection have considered that technically and in terms of financing it, creating the regulations is not viable.

  1. Principles


i. On Fundamental Principles

·   All the activities related to the policy of control of psychoactive substances must be unfolded in full conformity with international human rights norms.

·   The policy on psychoactive substances must be centered on reducing the harmful consequences of the use of psychoactives and not in the dimensions of use and of the markets in these substances.

·   The policy on psychoactive substances must be developed through a structured and objective evaluation of priorities and of empirical studies.

·   The policy on psychoactive substances and the activities related to it must try to promote the social integration of marginalized groups and not be centered on punitive measures against them.

·   The government must construct open and constructive relationships with society to debate and develop the policy on psychoactive substances.

ii.    On Criminal Justice

·   The laws must distinguish among the different actors linked to the market in psychoactive substances: experimental users, occasional users, frequent users, addicted users, problematic users, social traffickers, growers, chemists, human couriers, commercial traffickers and money launderers.

·   Strategies for the application of the law must be structured in such a way that they go after reduction of the violence and the corruption associated with market in psychoactive substances.

·   Strategies for the application of the law must direct people who commit minor crimes away from criminal trials or jail sentences.

·   The policy on psychoactive substances must create strategies for the management of use in penal centers.

iii.  On social and health programs

·   The most efficacious programs for prevention of use of psychoactives are those that promote social cohesion in the communities and those that strengthen preventive factors, and not the campaigns centered on messages.

·   Treatments for psychoactive addiction must be based on the principle that addiction is a manageable or treatable disease and not a moral failing or a crime.

·   Programs must be implemented for reduction of the harm associated with use of psychoactives

iv.  On strengthening communities

·   The initiatives encouraged by the policy on psychoactive substances must be centered on reducing the violence associated with the market in psychoactives instead of focusing on reducing its size.

·   The most efficacious measure for moving the growers of illicit crops into other areas is the promotion of alternative ways of earning a living, and not eradication.

·   The policies on psychoactive substances must promote the protection of the rights of native peoples.

  1. Orientations


i. We use the category of Psychoactive Substances (PASs) because this includes both the legal and the illegal ones. We do not recognize the word “drug” because it has been the vehicle of stigma, prejudice, war and exclusion.


ii.    We extend an invitation to come out of the psychoactive closet and say no to self-imposed exclusion. Users of PASs must be recognized as functional and socially, economically and politically productive citizens.


iii.  Users are neither sick nor criminals. We prefer the term recreational user, because they are persons who are concerned about their physical, social and mental health. Abuse will always be harmful.


iv.  Prevention of use among boys, girl, adolescents and youth must be based on scientific evidence and must leave aside fear and prejudice as formative tools.


v.    Boys and girls, adolescents, youth, the disabled, the imprisoned population, street people and sex workers are priority populations for attention in PAS use.


vi.  Repressive policies currently in force kill more and cause more damage to society than psychoactive substances.


vii. Colombia must lead the international debate about changing the paradigm of control of illegal PASs. Our country has the necessary cultural tradition and moral authority to provide orientation for this change.

  1. Proposals

i. Take advantage of human capital. Everything that affects users of PASs should be based on consultations and agreements with that community. In order to design and implement effective control policies, the participation of the users is necessary in the cases where legal and illegal PASs are being discussed.


ii.    Recognize human rights and public health as the points of departure for any effective action to handle the phenomenon of the use of PASs.


iii.  Recognize that the use of PASs is a reality that the law is not going to eliminate; therefore, the priority is to be concerned with health.


iv.  Recognize that the use of SAPs can be experimental, recreational, habitual, compulsive, problematic or dependent, and that each one has to be managed in a different way.


v.    Generate a system of early warnings of illegal SAPs that indicates the risks and consequences for health.


vi.  Reject obligatory treatment. Recognize the right of autonomy and self-determination. Nobody except the user himself can decide when, how and where to stop his use.


vii. Increase the supply and improve the quality of our treatment centers for those who wish to abandon use and need help. Guarantee the coverage of treatments that are now in the POS [Plan Obligatorio de Salud, the government health plan, guaranteed in the Constitution—SC]


viii.   Allow the carrying and use of a personal dose of illegal PASs


ix.  Allow the personal cultivation of marihuana and coca as a mechanism of struggle against narco-trafficking and for the care of the health of the users.


x.    Create a system for regulation, control and dispensing of illegal substances as an option instead of legalization. In particular, a system of regulation has to be implemented for products based on coca and marihuana


xi.  Create specialized health services to take care of the health of those who use and do not desire to or cannot stop doing so.


xii. Create tools for the mitigation and reduction of risk and harm to those who use and do not want to or cannot abandon use, but are concerned about their health.


xiii.   Educate public functionaries and society in general on the topic of PASs. Teachers, police, public functionaries and operators of the health system must not promote stigmatization, but should combat it.


xiv.   Promote research and study about the benefits of illegal PASs in fields like medicine, biology, psychology and chemistry.


xv. Destine 40% of the goods seized from narco-traffickers for prevention, mitigation and overcoming use, as well as for generation of opportunities for vulnerable populations.


xvi.   Abandon repression and persecution of the users by the non-users, replacing them with coexistence and conciliation.


xvii.  Recognize the pursuit of pleasure in the use of PASs, and stop understanding this as the pursuit of disease, flight from problems, or mental or physical incapacity.


xviii.    Recognize as an abuse by the public security forces the failure to recognize the rights of the users, their stigmatizing, their persecution and their exclusion.

[1] The manual, “Prevention in the hands of the youth. Teaching tools for preventing use of PASs and mitigation of the impact, for leaders of youth organizations,” produced with technical support of the Social Technical Action Corporation [Corporación Acción Técnica Social] within the framework of the agreement between the Ministry of Social Protection and the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), defines the different kinds of uses in this way:

Experimental. All use of PASs begins here. An individual tries one or more substances, once or twice, and decides not to do it again. He/she has no intention to do it again because perhaps the effects were not pleasant, they do not see any sense in continuing to do it, or perhaps because it does not agree with their life style or way of thinking. Or simply because they have satisfied a curiosity and have other priorities for their lives.


Recreational. Use begins to be seen with some regularity within circles of friends in leisure contexts (parties, outings). They do not buy it or hold on to it, they do it with people they know and in whom they have confidence, only when they feel a desire to do so. Their goal is have experiences that are agreeable, pleasant and enjoyable, they “hold out” for parties and for relationships with their peers. Although they consume within their circles of friends, not all of them are users. They also occupy their free time in other activities in which there are no PASs. They don’t think of use as an “escape” or a “solution” to their problems because they know how to look for different alternatives to them. This is a passing use, associated with concrete situations, and in some cases with epochs or stages of life, without leaving evident consequences. They lose control rarely, they do not consume when they are alone, nor do they tend to experiment with high-risk substances of methods of administration.


Habitual. In order to get here they have to have gone through a previous phase. They have a preference for one psychoactive substance (perhaps after having tried many others), a permanent supply and a taste for how it feels. Because of this, frequency and amount increase. The PAS plays an important part of their lives, and serves some functions for them every time they consume it; because of this, it is very likely that they will do it repeatedly. Depending on the substance, a physical or psychological dependency may develop, and sooner or later they will begin to have increasingly evident problems; life begins to become unstable.


Compulsive. They depend on the PAS, but not only on it, but on their friends and the life style that develops around it. It is probable that this “life style” will consist not only of the use, but also of the circle of friends, recognition and acceptance within the group. But they might also begin using while alone and isolated, without friends, without greater activities. Here, the use of the substance is out of necessity and many times to avoid feeling bad physically or psychologically. Life is organized around guaranteeing the drug and being able to consume it.


Problematic use. This is determined by the impact it has on heath (visible consequences, chronic illnesses) and the appearance of social consequences with a negative connotation (deterioration, isolation, problematic conduct). It is characterized by the presence of one or more PASs in situations that might indicate danger: a loss of quickness of response and reflexes (driving, crossing a street or operating a machine), difficulty or inability to carry out work, academic or family responsibilities (absenteeism, a low level of effort, isolation, abandonment or inattention to interests and responsibilities).


Dependence. This can occur in an abrupt manner or progressively, according to the substance(s) that are being used. Someone is dependent when they cannot stop using because if they stop they suffer unpleasant physical or psychological symptoms. Daily life begins to revolve around the use of the substance and they enter into a vicious cycle of get-use-get. The users feel it is impossible to resist the desire to use, that they have lost control; they feel strong anxiety as the effects wear down, which is only alleviated by using again. There are two types of dependence: physical and psychological.

We emphasize that in all cases the user is a citizen with full rights and guarantees.

[2]  In the United States in 1963, before the “War on drugs,” 85% of homicide cases were resolved; today it is less than 60%. xxvii





[3]  Several European countries (e.g., Belgium, Norway, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Switzerland) and the majority of South American countries have decriminalized the possession of psychoactives. The Israeli parliament has formed a committee to study the possibility of legalizing some drugs and there is a bill in the United States Congress to legalize marijuana.
[4] Implemented for example in Switzerland, Vancouver and Iran among many others.xxviii
[5] The most problematic use of psychoactives is found among the users of opiates (e.g., heroin)
[6] In Spain, Belgium, Germany, California and New Zealand marijuana and coca users’ clubs have been formed. These organizations are groups of habitual users who grow what they are going to use in a cooperative, and thus their use does not finance the illicit market, and what they use is not contaminated. There also exist collectives that seek to inform users about the risks that are brought by the use of psychoactives.
[7] In Colombia, 98% of the persons imprisoned for drug offenses did not have, or there could not be proven, a link to narcotics trafficking. xxix
[8] The capacity for cocaine production remains the same today as it was in 2001, before Plan Colombia began.
[9] “Article 81: The fabrication, importing, possession and use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is prohibited, as is bringing nuclear waste materials or toxic waste into the national territory.”
[10] The escalation of punishment for users imposed by the new Italian legislation of 2006 on psychoactive substances brought jail overcrowding, and although the number of users has risen, the number of people who sought treatment in 2010 is les than 10% of the  number is 2006. xxx
[11] The level of users in countries with more severe policies (e.g. the United States) is not lower than in countries with more liberal policies (e.g., Portugal, Holland, Switzerland).
[12] The three countries with the worst levels of people sick with hepatitis among the using population that ingest drugs through intravenous injection are Russia, China and the United States. xxxi The three share severe laws against users. Russia, because of its anti-drug policy, is one of the few countries in the world where the HIV epidemic has not been contained. xxxii




i Global Commission on Drug Policy, Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, 2011.
ii Ibid.
iii Editorial Committee of the Declaration of Vienna, 2009.
iv United national Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2011.
v  C.E. Hughes, A. Stevens, What can we learn form the Portuguese decriminalization of illicit drugs, Brit. J. Criminol.50, 2010, 999-1022.
vi Des Jarlais, Structural interventions to reduce HIV transmission among injecting drug users. AIDS 2000; 14 (suppl 1): S41–6.
vii T. Kerr, et al., Impact of a medically supervised safer injection facility on community drug use patterns: a before and after study.
viii U.S. Government Accountability Office, Department of State’s Counternarcotics Performance Management System, GAO-11-564R, May 26, 2011.
ix US can’t justify its drug war spending, reports say, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2011.
x R.R. Griffiths, et al., Psilocubin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects, Psychopharmacology, June 15, 2011.
xi M.C. Mithoefer, The safety and efficacy of ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder: the first randomized controlled pilot study, Journal of Psychopharmacology 0 (0), 1-14, 2010.
xii E. Seifert, Solothurner Psychiater: LSD hilft, Ängste zu mildern, Aargauer Zeitung, July 20, 2011.
xiii Peter Chalk, RAND Corporation, The Latin American Drug Trade, Scope, Dimensions, Impact, and Response, 2011.
xiv Ibid.
xv Human Right Watch, Global State of Pain Treatment, Access to Medicines and Palliative Care, May, 2011
xvi Ibid.
xvii International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, Effec of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review, 2010.
xviii TNI/WOLA, Systems overload: Drug laws and prisons in Latin America, March, 2011.
xix L. Degenhardt, W.-T. Chiu, N. Sampson, R.C. Kessler, J.C. Anthony, et al Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. PloS Med 5(7): e141, 2008.
xx C. Davis, S. Burris, D. Metzger, J. Becher, K. Lynch, Effects of an intensive street-level police intervention on syringe exchange program utilization: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, American Journal of Public Health 95:233, 2005.
xxi Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito, World Drug Report 2005
xxii EFE, ‘Cada año se lavan 8 mil millones de dólares en el país’: Fiscal, El Tiempo, July 28, 2011.
xxiii CIA World Factbook, 2011.
xxiv The National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Shoveling up: The impact of substance abuse on State budgets, 2001.
xxv Ministerio de la Protección Social, Ministerio del Interior, Dirección Nacional de Estupefacientes, Estudio Nacional de Consumo de Sustancias Psicoactivas en Colombia 2008, Informe final, 2008.
xxvi  Ibid.
xxvii John Anderson, ‘War on Drugs’ distracts from fighting crime, Time Colonist, July 26, 2011.
xxviii C. Cook, N. Kaneaf, The Global State of Harm Reduction 2010: Key issues for broadening the response, International Harm Reduction Association, 2010.
xxix Ibid. xviii.
xxx Il secondo Libro Biando sulla legge Fini-Giovanardi, July, 2011.
xxxi P.K. Nelson, et al., Global epidemiology of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in people who inject drugs: results of systematic reviews, The Lancet, July 28, 2011.
xxxii M. Schwirtz, Inadequate Fight Against Drugs Hampers Russia’s Ability to Curb H.I.V., New York Times, January 16, 2011.






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