14º National conference on drug policies
Last Thursday, the 23th of June, the public hall of the Chamber of Deputies was filled with people all attending the 14th National Conference on Drug Policies. A space to debate on drugs which are most important in our country, organized uninterruptedly since 2003 by Intercambios Civil Association. In the openings ceremony, there was agreement on the necessity to discuss the decriminalization of the consumption of substances.
Juan Carlos Mansilla, director of Abordaje Territorial of the SEDRONAR (Territorial Approach of the Secretariat of Integrated Policies on Drugs), highlights “the value of the restitution on part of the management of Roberto Moro, part of the Federal Board on Drugs, who enabled the establishment of a federal program which understands the particularities and real differences in every place in our countryfor the consumption approach, putting the focus on the prevention and the primary care of problematic consumptions”.
Verónica Russo, representative of Red Argentina who stands up for the rights of the users of drugs (RADAUD), begins her speech with strong criticism towards ´the invisibilization of substance users´ declaring that “we have to look different at the users, as persons who have rights”. In this respect, emphasizes the importance of “a framework for harm reduction”. Besides reflecting on the national plan for addictions of SEDRONAR; she points out that “we could never have participated in the project;I know that this is exactly the flaw, we are not trustworthy”. Lastly, she wants to make clear that “we celebrate the initiative with regard to the therapeutic use of cannabis but we still need to move forward towards decriminalization and regulation”.
In the closing ceremony, the president of Intercambios CA, Graciela Touzé did not hesitate in “repeating the claim to decriminalize the ownership of drugs and the self-cultivation, so that the regulation of medicinal cannabis can advance and the policies oriented towards the reduction of violence can be implemented, so that the proportionality of the sentences for offences associated with drugs can be reviewed, so that a gender perspective, which considers that the women – especially the poorest and the heads of the households – are the most vulnerable and affected by the criminal prosecution in this field, is included, and moreoverto question the use of this subject in order to stigmatize and exclude adults and youngsters in the popular sectors”.
Lastly, she requires “a serious commitment to focus on the harm reduction which has effect on the public policies through explicit support and with budget allocations, which exceed the actual situation of underfunding initiatives of harm reduction”.
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