• Costa Rica Real Estate

New approach to drugs seeks footing in Costa Rica

April 16, 2010

The drug debate in Latin America has started to shift.

For decades, drug possession and addiction in the Americas have been treated with a zero tolerance policy. Efforts to slow drug use have largely centered on arresting and punishing users.

But packed jails, overburdened court systems, and a growing consensus that the war on drugs is failing are transforming the discussion.

In August, 2009, Argentina´s Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prosecute people for possession of drugs for personal use. One month later, Colombia´s high court issued a similar ruling.

In Peru and Bolivia, there are now small clinics that give cocoa leaves to crack addicts in order to manage and lessen their addiction. Bolivia´s President, Evo Morales, has asked the United Nations to eliminate the narcotics label on the coca plant.

Now, in Costa Rica, high-ranking officials are joining the tolerance dialogue.

In March, Costa Rica´s Chief Prosecutor, Francisco Dall´Anese, proposed offering free drugs to addicts as a way to compete with dealers. Squeezing in between the addict and the supplier to offer a cheap alternative would “break” the finances of drug pushers and “reduce demand,” he told the Spanish–language daily La Nación.

“Here, what we would do is preempt the business of drug dealing,” he said.

The reasoning behind the proposal is fairly simple. By stopping the flow of income to drug dealers and eradicating the addict´s need to steal in order to buy another fix, crime rates should drop.

This idea is not revolutionary. Countries in North America and Europe have used harm reduction techniques such as methadone clinics for years to treat heroin addiction.

These efforts have been regarded as successful in reducing crime and curving addiction by medical journals.

Dall´Anese´s proposal, though, does represent a fundamental shift in Costa Rican drug policy, as providing addicts with free, chemical substitutes would take the drug addiction problem out of the hands of law enforcement and place it at the doorstep of public health officials.

For more on this story, see the April 16 print and digital editions of The Tico Times.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Despite reports, Costa Rica continues to not be an island
Tico Times Shade
3028 views
Tico Times Shade
3028 views

Despite reports, Costa Rica continues to not be an island

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 23, 2019

Despite recent reports to the contrary, The Tico Times has confirmed that Costa Rica is not an island. This news…

Costa Rican dog attends trial as a victim of animal abuse
Costa Rica
639 views
Costa Rica
639 views

Costa Rican dog attends trial as a victim of animal abuse

AFP and The Tico Times - July 23, 2019

Champion, a two-year-old dog, became on Monday the first animal in Latin America to attend the trial of his former…

Flamingo Fishing Rodeo set to begin in one of sportfishing’s best destinations
Fishing
148 views
Fishing
148 views

Flamingo Fishing Rodeo set to begin in one of sportfishing’s best destinations

The Tico Times - July 23, 2019

Flamingo, Guanacaste, is one of sportfishing’s legendary destinations, an idyllic laid-back beach community located on Costa Rica's northern Pacific coast.…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!