Drug experts plead for a better way
DPA/The Local · 18 May 2015, 15:36
Published: 18 May 2015 15:36 GMT+02:00
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“Since 1971 [the year the Drugs Law was passed] narcotics consumption and dependency have increased in a way unimaginable back then,” the experts wrote in the report, published on Monday by a group of German charities.
“Especially among heroin addicts, this has led to dramatic health risks.”
The researchers and activists write that bans and legal punishments are not enough to deal with the problem of drugs.
“The law has not only failed in its objective, but prevented further measures that would have limited the damage.”
The group is hoping to influence public opinion in advance of the release of the second yearly drugs report from the federal government next Thursday.
Government responses to drugs have lacked understanding and have been focused on the short term, the experts said, adding that many police officers agree “that the ban on drugs cannot be implemented now or in the future with police resources”.
Some people just prefer illegal drugs to the legal options of tobacco and alcohol, they say.
Pilot projects such as drug checking – allowing consumers to have samples of their drugs checked for dangerous poisons – could save a lot of lives, they argue.
Modern addiction therapies have in many cases abandoned the idea of completely eliminating all addictive substances from a patient's life.
Instead, doctors and therapists seek to help their patient to survive and remain healthy, reduce consumption and lengthen periods of abstinence.
But drug users are by default criminals under the law since dealing and possession of drugs remain illegal.
This could put them in danger as the people around them may wait longer to call for help in the case of an overdose or poisoning out of fear of the police, the group said