Santos responded to an idea coined by Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro who said centers where drug addicts could freely consume drugs would improve the capital’s security.
According to Petro, “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.”
While not absolutely rejecting Petro’s proposal, Santos said in an interview that “this leap into the dark seems irresponsible to me because one could cause a lot of damage to society, youth and the country.”
Instead, the President proposed to wait for results of a study conducted by the Organization of American States on the impact of drug legalization. “We don’t know if this increases consumption or diminishes it. Nobody knows,” said the president.
When proposing the drug consumption centers, the Bogota mayor said he would only act if authorized by the national government.
Colombia has taken several steps towards the decriminalization of drug use since Santos took office in 2010. Legislation approved over the past two years allows the carrying of small doses of drugs and determines drug addiction as a public health rather than a criminal issue.