Colombia’s Congress, not the government, should authorize Bogota to supply illicit drugs to addicts as proposed by the mayor of the capital who claims it will reduce crime, an adviser of President Juan Manuel Santos said Monday.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Gina Parody, recently named the presidential adviser on Colombia’s capital Bogota, said that though Santos is in favor of opening the debate about the formulation of a prevention and rehabilitation policy, he is not the one who endorses such practices.
Following a meeting with the president last Friday, Bogota’s colorful mayor, Gustavo Petro, confirmed that the national government authorized his proposal to supply illicit drugs to addicts, if they have a medical prescription and meet a strict set of criteria.
Parody said that this week they will meet with an interdisciplinary committee including the Ministry of Health to discuss the rehabilitation theme which will include a proposal to evaluate the supply of illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
“We believe that those who could receive an illicit drug is the minimum part of the addicts, the 0.5% that are addicts of heroin. Here we need to generate other public policies for the 99.5% remaining,” said the presidential adviser.
Bogota’s Mayor Petro also floated the idea of creating drug consumption centers in Bogota back in early August. “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,” said the mayor.
Petro’s proposal had been made days after Santos ratified a law that said drug addiction is a public health issue rather than a crime.