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New drug bill to decriminalise synthetic drugs in Columbia











Last week the president of Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos said the country needed to reassess the ‘war on drugs’ with the government planning to decriminalize ecstasy and other synthetic drugs.  The effects of this would be to tackle the social problems that have been caused by widespread drug use and trafficking in Columbia.  Columbia has been a fertile county of criminal drug gangs, traffickers and remains one of the biggest cocaine suppliers in the world.

The Justice Minister, Ruth Stella Correa has suggested replacing the current repressive laws that ban cocaine and marijuana, although people are not prosecuted for possessing small amounts at the present time.  The new approach, which in the next few months will be presented to Congress, proposes to standardise the amount of drugs already permitted, while allowing an equivalent quantity of synthetic drugs.  As Correa told a National Radio ‘ The new statute to be presented to the Congress, during this mandate intends to make this authorisation concrete, but broadening it to include synthetic drugs into what is defined as the personal dose.’

Critics of this legislation are concerned that decriminalizing the use of synthetic drugs will only make the debate on drugs more complicated. Also further confusion as of whether heroin, an increasing problem in Columbia could also be determined as a synthetic drug could lead to further exacerbation within the debate.

In forming a more holistic approach to drug policy, which includes healthcare, involvement of families, the education system, public health specialists and community leaders, sustainable improvements are possible in relation to public health conditions, drastic reduction of organised crime and positively promoting legality throughout the population.

This proposal is mimicking Bolivia, in symbolising a step forward for drug policy reform, as there is global consideration is being given to accessing the most viable and beneficial ways to combat the issues of ‘the drug war’ and whether it is time to reposition our approach.

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