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Aug 16, 2022
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Europe legalizes drugs

“Right to be intoxicated” as a European value?

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In Germany, disputes over the legalization of drugs have again escalated. One of the main champions of the legalization of the potion is the Green Party. The issue of making drug use legal is even included in the coalition agreement of the federal government (a coalition of social democrats, green and free democrats). Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is also in favor of legalization. And in the capital of Germany, the greens want not only to legalize cannabis, but also to decriminalize “hard” drugs (cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines).

“The right to get drunk should be natural in a city of freedom like Berlin, even if it goes against the mentality of the Bavarian village police”– said the chairman of the green faction, Werner Graf, shortly before the so-called Cannabis Parade in Berlin. His party is proposing to end criminal cases for possession of small amounts of hard drugs, as is practiced for possession of marijuana and cannabis. The Greens are demanding that when a quantity of cannabis up to 15 grams is found, the police do not start cases at all. “The criminalization of drug users is a relic of the last millennium and must be stopped,” Werner Graf convinces.

So, “the right to be drunk”? The main argument of the fighters for the legalization of drugs is the medical use of cannabis, which is over 4 thousand years old. Hemp-based products were used in Ancient India, Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt. In the East, marijuana or hashish were popular not only as a medicine, but also as psychotropic substances (most often for smoking). The property of marijuana to lead to drug addiction has made this product banned in many countries. Marijuana has been categorized as a drug.

Meanwhile, the medicinal use of narcotic substances is not at all like the “right to intoxication” advocated by the German Greens. The side effects of uncontrolled use are well known. The number of inpatient treatment in hospitals for people with mental disorders as a result of drug use has increased 6 times in 18 yearsreported in 2018 by the university clinic in Ulm: in 2000, there were about 3,400 inpatient treatment cases for mental disorders due to drug use in Germany; in 2018, there were already 19,100. At the same time, the number of cases of inpatient treatment, say, for alcoholism or schizophrenia, did not increase over the same period.

The increase in mental illness, according to Carlos Schönefeld-Lecuon, one of the co-authors of the study conducted by the Ulm Clinic, is directly related to the increase in the availability of cannabis and the increase in the concentration of psychoactive substances in it.: “We are seeing an increase in the consumption of … drugs with a high content of psychoactive substances”. According to another co-author of the study, Maximilian Gar, if the drug is legalized, its consumption will increase, and so will the mental disorders provoked by it.

What is more important for the state – to observe the mental health of citizens or to make life easier for the police, who are chasing drug addicts, dealers and couriers? Different countries legalize drugs for different reasons.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former and current senior UN officials, recommended in 2011 that countries experiment with the legal regulation of certain types of drugs that are eligible for possible legalization. Allegedly in order to combat drug trafficking.

Even before these recommendations, in 2008 Mexican President Felipe Calderon had already started experimenting. He signed a law allowing possession of a small amount of drugs. “The law allows possession and transportation of 2 grams of opium, 50 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine, 40 milligrams of methamphetamines and 0.015 milligrams of LSD”says the law. All of these are by no means “light” substances.

And by the way, Mexico is the main transshipment base for drugs from Latin America to the United States. Experts estimate that up to $40 billion worth of drugs are smuggled through Mexico into the United States each year. Felipe Calderon, after coming to power in 2006, declared war on drug traffickers and brought in the army. More than 45,000 troops have been deployed to the US border areas to curb drug cartel violence and police corruption. However, the law focused on the capture of large drug dealers and drug dealers, and did not touch drug addicts and pushers.

In the same 2008, 68% of the Swiss who came to the polls voted in favor of officially selling heroin to drug addicts by prescription. The pilot program, launched 14 years ago in Zurich, has become an official practice throughout Switzerland.

In parallel with the vote on the so-called heroin program, the question of the legalization of marijuana was put to a referendum in Switzerland. And only 36.8% of the Swiss supported this idea, leaving the situation unchanged. Green Party MP (the Swiss Greens are following in the footsteps of the Germans) Jo Lang said that the results of the vote on the legalization of marijuana are disappointing: they only mean that the 600,000 Swiss who smoke marijuana will continue to be considered criminals . However, the government, which opposed the legalization of marijuana, fears an influx of so-called drug tourists.

Some Western countries are nevertheless legalizing marijuana and introducing legal regulation of the practice of possession of a small amount of psychotropic drugs. In the United States, Congress continues to consider the legalization of narcotic drugs, while drug trafficking, meanwhile, gradually overwhelms the West. People are increasingly inclined to the fact that “it is necessary to relieve stress.” The notorious right to intoxication advocated by the German Greens promises to become another European value.

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