Colombia Using Marijuana to Fight Drug Addiction

 by lucy

In Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, researchers and lawmakers are considering a new approach to drug addiction treatment.  The city wants to initiate a pilot program that would see if marijuana helps eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal associated with basuco, a drug similar to crack cocaine.

Ultimately, the goal of the program would be to minimize health risks, both mental and physical, associated with basuco.

Basuco is a smokable drug that is commonly used among poor citizens.  The base of the drug is an intermediary product that you get if you’re making cocaine that can still contain solvents, including kerosene.  This makes basuco some of the least pure cocaine one could possibly access.  Additionally, to add weight to the drug, dealers will add things like crushed brick and ash.  The drug is sold to users for less than a dollar per high.

One expert in Bogota estimates that the city has at least 7,000 “problem users,” which means they might take up to 15-20 hits a day, according to BBC Mundo.

In an attempt to get the drug problem under control, the city is planning to establish “controlled consumption centers” where addicts of hard drugs, primarily basuco, could go to consume in a safer environment and eventually be weaned off of the drugs.

Julián Quintero, from the Bogota-based non-profit organization Acción Técnica Social, which works on drug policy, told BBC Mundo how such centers will work:

“The first thing you do is to start to reduce the dose. After that, you begin to change the way that it’s administered: if you were injecting heroin, you move to smoking heroin; after smoking heroin, you move to combining it with cannabis; after that, you’re staying with the cannabis,” he said. “What you’re looking for is for the person to reach a point where they can stabilize the consumption and that the consumption doesn’t prevent them from being functional.”

Marijuana is the last step of the program, so that people can still enjoy a high without consuming something that puts them or others in danger.

No such programs have been tested in the United States.  Instead, most US-based treatment facilities contend that complete sobriety from all substances is the only way to truly overcome an addiction.

Amanda Reiman, a policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance, explained why a similar program is unlikely in the US.  “Unfortunately, universities rely on grants from the federal government for research, so most of what they do is what the feds want done,” she said in an email. “As you can probably guess, the feds are not too interested in beneficial uses for marijuana, and even less interested in how to help people who are addicted to substances, so most of the research in this area occurs outside the U.S. or through private funding.”

 

[Source]

8 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 4

    kushjunkie420 said on Apr 2, 2013

    fuck the feds

  2. 4

    eternal.luv said on Apr 2, 2013

    "From the Colombian point of view [legalization] is the easy solution. I mean, just legalize it and we won't have any more problems. Probably in five years we wouldn't even have guerrillas. No problems. We [would] have a great country with no problems."

    Jaime Ruiz, senior adviser to the Colombian President .
    (Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 2000)

  3. 1

    eddie273273 said on Apr 2, 2013

    Sounds like a common sense approach . Hope it works out well for them . It's plainly obvious that jails and prisons do not cure addiction .

  4. 3

    dabs710 said on Apr 2, 2013

    Columbia is taking the right approach. They will see the more they legalize, the better off society will be with the benefits of hemp. End prohibition worldwide!

  5. 1

    spkavyo said on Apr 2, 2013

    What a novel idea. I hope they do a study that shows the benefits, i.e. the number of people who get off harder drugs and satisfy their cravings with marijuana. The federal government has too much invested in it's "War on Drugs" to try a sensible approach such as this. If the government won't fund a study like this maybe the medical cannabis industry could help a college carry one out.

  6. 1

    Felessen said on Apr 3, 2013

    Amanda Reiman, a policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance, explained why a similar program is unlikely in the US. “Unfortunately, universities rely on grants from the federal government for research, so most of what they do is what the feds want done,” she said in an email. “As you can probably guess, the feds are not too interested in beneficial uses for marijuana, and even less interested in how to help people who are addicted to substances, so most of the research in this area occurs outside the U.S. or through private funding.”

    Well said.

  7. 1

    jtwpayne said on Apr 3, 2013

    wow good going columbia, somebody give them a high 5, fuck the feds, fuck the us goverment right up the ass, doesnt do shit for the people, i bet u if everyone in the us overthrew the govermemnt right now, i guarntee tomorrow would be the start of a better world

  8. 1

    GGLynzee said on Apr 4, 2013

    FINALLY!!! That is one of my goals for the treatment center I want to open. I believe it truely will help better than antidepressant meds and other crap they give them in the centers.

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