The mayor of Colombia’s capital hopes to construct these drug centers in the southern districts of Ciudad Bolivar, Suba and Corabastos where the crime rates are highest, Petro told newspaper El Tiempo.
“A large part of the violence and crime that still persists in the city derives from the small-scale consumption and trafficking of drugs … We should allow some centers for addicts that provide treatment … where the addict can consume under relative control, without doing damage to society. If we do this like a pilot in the city’s most violent areas, next year we will see an even bigger drop in overall crime, from homicides to the robbing of cell phones,” the mayor said.
Petro’s proposal comes days after President Juan Manuel Santos ratified a law that said drug addiction is a public health issue rather than a crime.
Last year, Colombia already decriminalized the carrying of small doses of drugs.
The Bogota mayor said that also in this case he wants to work together with the Santos administration and will not carry out his plan “if the national government doesn’t authorize it.”
Since taking office in January, Petro has taken several far-stretching measures to tackle the city’s crime. The most controversial was a ban on guns that, according to the mayor, has resulted in a 24% drop in the city’s homicide rate to 16 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.