Brazil to Decriminalize and Distribute Drugs

Brazil’s federal government is discussing a decree to regulate the policy of reducing the harm caused by narcotics consumption in Brazil. The debate is led by the Ministry of Health, responsible for disease prevention and treatment of drug users.

The Ministry’s coordinator of Mental Health, Pedro Delgado, informs that the decree defines the role and function of health professionals who work with harm reduction and regulates prevention activities (distribution of syringes and condoms).


Two other items are being considered by the Ministries of Health and Justice, the National Anti-drug Secretariat, and the Presidential Civilian Advisory Staff.


One of them foresees the adoption of substitute treatments, that is, the use of less destructive drugs to substitute ones that are more damaging and pernicious.


The other item under analysis is the establishment of safe drug-consumption centers, on a trial basis. “They would be places meant to lessen the life risk to the seriously ill and the risk of death from overdose,” the coordinator reveals.


“These places would act as health service portals for patients who live in large urban centers and are more seriously addicted.”


For Delgado, the federal government is in a phase of “consolidating norms.” He believes that President Lula will sign the decree regulating the harm reduction policy before the year ends.


Back to the ’80’s


According to a study by the Brazilian Harm Reduction Network (Reduc), the first debates and actions in this area emerged in Brazil in the decade of the ’80’s.


At the time there was a recognition of more flexible, realistic, and pragmatic approaches in the treatment of drug users.


The first attempt to distribute syringes to chemically dependent individuals occurred in Santos (SP) in 1989.


In the decade of the ’90’s, universities began to discuss the harm reduction policies adopted in other countries.


In 1992 the Federal University of Bahia inaugurated the first university program for the exchange of needles.


Three years later, the National Coordinating body for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS (STD/AIDS) began to consider the distribution of syringes as a strategy for containing the HIV virus.


The federal government initiated its activities in this field through non-governmental organizations, which continue to be the loci of the majority of harm reduction agents, who are responsible for identifying drug users, contacting them, teaching preventive measures, and offering treatment.


According to Delgado, the decree to regulate the harm reduction policy will also provide legal protection for these agents, who are currently liable to police and court actions.


“The exchange of syringes and the distribution of condoms among drug users are responsible for reducing the cases of infection from AIDS and types B and C hepatitis,” Delgado informs.


“The rate of AIDS contamination in this segment of the population used to be 50.6%. After a year and a half of the national syringe distribution program, it dropped to around 34%.”


Agência Brasil
Translator: David Silberstein

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

President Lula’s Choices

Pressing problems faces his Excellency President Lula—who will run the central bank By John ...

Brazil Is Spending Less and Finance Minister Is Quite Happy

Between January and November, Brazil’s primary surplus – the savings achieved by the government ...

A Few Tricks to Get Elected in Brazil

Brazilians will be going to the polls this coming October 3. The vote is ...

Brazil Subsidizes Farmers to Control Inflation

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, launched this July 2, in ...

Brazil’s Formal Job Market Grows 9%, but Income Shrinks

A survey has found that the number of workers in Brazil in the formal ...

CardioTech Presents Brazilians Living with CardioPass Graft

Massachusetts-based CardioTech International Inc. announced that it will make a presentation at the 32nd ...

A sign protesting Bush's visit to Brazil

Protests and Toughest Security Scheme Ever Await Bush in Brazil

Brazilian social movements and workers unions are vowing to bring thousands of people to ...

Another Down Day for Brazilian Stocks

Latin American markets collectively receded, following a downturn in U.S. shares. U.S. Federal Reserve ...

Brazil Lula’s Biofuel Boosting Tour Takes Him to Spain

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived this weekend in Spain where beginning ...

Brazil is not ready for another general blackout like the one in 2001

Brazilian Politics: Navel Gazing in Brasília – Largesse in São Paulo

One of the most depressing aspects of Brazilian politics is the way many – ...