Political distortions are also public attitudes
The so-called low-threshold offices provide free and anonymous assistance to people addicted to injecting drugs and psychotropic substances and those most at risk of registering. According to the European Union (EU), the World Health Organizations and the United Nations, we are lagging behind in strengthening the recommendations by providing one of the most important services of these offices, namely by changing the use of syringes and data. of them, while 60% is recommended.
“The reason for this is that the financing of harm reduction measures, including the lower functioning and development of threshold cabinets, is attributed to the municipalities, most of which view this responsibility first. An example shows them the policies that provide syringe and data exchange, the global methadone program, the replacement therapy of synthetic heroin, the equivalent of drug promotion. Although all of these measures help to add the addict to the treatment system, ”explains G. Duoblys, a lawyer of the coalition“ I can live ”, the head of the Center for Civic Initiatives, and a member of the Lithuanian Human Rights Center (LHRC).
He is succeeded by Judge Aurelijus Gutauskas, Chairman of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania. The political misinterpretation of the concepts and criminalization of possession of small quantities of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances without the aim of distributing them is a real problem: “It should be understood that in the case of decriminalization, penalty and a sufficiently severe administrative penalty. “
Drug policy is driven by many components
The EU strategy notes that only complex actions can steer the global drug problem in a positive direction. In the process of decriminalization, it is not enough to mechanically move one line from one code to another, to carry out the development of low-threshold cabinets, but, say, forget about prevention for young people.
The latter, as Mr Duoblys notes, has been in a rather deplorable position for many years, as the officer had to educate smart teachers on these issues. Poor quality knowledge “repelled” adolescents’ desire to delve into real information about drug issues and prevented them from looking for demand.
“ESPAD’s study on alcohol and other psychoactive substance use in European schools last year shows that one in five people aged 15-16 The adolescent used illegally acquired sedatives and hypnotics at least once in Lithuania. Obviously, the psychological condition of these people is very poor and it can be assumed that they are looking for a way to try illegal drugs as well, ”says G. Duoblys. True, the debate on prevention for young people has taken over the Department of Drugs, Tobacco and Control Control is increasing.
The need for complexity of A. Gutauskas’ decisions is seen in the mentioned approach of law enforcement institutions to certain pre-trial investigations and investigation tactics in them. For example, when a drug addict is apprehended with a large amount of drugs for the purpose not only of distributing him, but also of using part for his own purposes.
“Due to the large amount of drugs with the purpose of their distribution, a pre-trial investigation is unequivocally initiated. However, if the possession of small quantities of drugs for one’s own use should be decriminalized, for which administrative liability can be applied, and the circumstances established during the investigation, efforts should be made to separate this part of the investigation and transfer it to administrative justice. This is a kind of procedural inconvenience.
Therefore, it is now easiest not to divide such a process and to state that all the acts committed correspond to the characteristics of a crime – a detainee would be prosecuted for illicit possession of drugs for the purpose of distribution. Although he should be subject to administrative liability for an administrative offense and the possibility of receiving assistance established by law, as the detainee is addicted to drugs, ”the judge made clear. Of course, in each case, the criminal purpose of the offense is proven, not only by the testimony of the perpetrator, but also by other objective data of the case, which are assessed and decided only by the court.
Moreover, by removing the economic burden from law enforcement authorities, enforcers of costly fine documents for pre-trial investigations could slowly devote health care and assistance to individuals and social support. However, both experts unanimously agree that the willingness of people in a given situation to change their attitudes and accept any help is also crucial for obtaining modern, democratic and legal guidelines for state-based drug policy.
Following the good examples of the situation for the general public
Turning to other measures of drug use in the countries’ practice decisions, G. Duoblys mentions Belarus. Here, drug policy is extremely strict and all cases involving the possession of narcotic or psychotropic substances are subject to criminal liability. However, due to the consequences of the funds provided by the Global Fund to neighbors, it is better to make harm reduction measures, the work of low-threshold cabinets.
“The low-threshold cabinet measure of EU support implemented last year allowed us to do the same, but the money we receive still does not meet global requirements, and that measure after a few years,” said G. Duoblys, a member of the LSCC Council, emphasizing that over the past decade The number of low-threshold offices in Lithuania has decreased significantly.
At the level of other Member States, we choose our favorite punishment: large-scale drug trafficking in Lithuania threatens 8–10 years in prison, and very large – 10–15 years.
A. Gutauskas emphasizes that often the supply is not allocated even for murder, and good measured decisions are made with good examples, proposing to offer the Czech Republic or Portugal, which focuses on helping a person and making a decision.
“Disproportionate punishment, persecution and imprisonment stigmatize, especially young people. Instead of helping them, individually, because they are angry at supposedly hostile institutions, parents, society as a whole, and ultimately themselves. After entering the correctional facility, they make even more progress, as they face difficulties in obtaining a car and returning to freedom in reintegration, especially after a long-term imprisonment, ”the judge shares his experience.
G. Duoblys adds that the excessive application of the norms of criminal law must strengthen the secondary negative choice for the general public – many others, therefore morally excluded, negatively stigmatized, uncompetitive and state disloyal people.