The Left Party has called for hard drugs to be decriminalized so police can focus on more serious crimes
Call for a “fundamental rethink“of the country’s drug policy, the German Left Party (Die Linke) hopes to make small amounts of crystal meth available to addicts under close”therapeutic support‘ it said in a motion on Monday.
The party also aims to decriminalize possession of small amounts of meth and other hard drugs, including cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, in the hopes that reducing time spent prosecuting addicts frees up police resources for more important cases.
Drug users mustconsistently protected from criminal prosecution‘ said the parliamentary motion. †Police, prosecutors, courts and last but not least medical facilities should be relieved and able to focus on important tasks of public welfare†
Crystal meth use in Germany has been on the rise for years, with the number of related crimes rising by 18.9% in 2020 from the previous year, for a total of 12,000 cases. While no newer statistics are available yet, drug policy experts have warned that the Covid-19 lockdowns have likely exacerbated the problem, as it has in other countries.
Nor has the Left Party always been in favor of allowing meth addicts to go unpunished. Drug policy spokesman Frank Tempel explained in 2015 that while he was in favor of legalizing substitutes for meth, which addicts would give”controlled qualityTo rely on, the substance itself must remain off-limits. †This stuff is so dangerous you can’t legalize it,” he said.
Germany started to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes in 2017, and earlier this year the process began to legalize the drug recreationally. The substance remains off-limits to children and young people, but would-be German cannabis entrepreneurs are concerned that excessive bureaucracy and overload could lead to the experiment failing, driving consumers back to the illegal suppliers that legalization should negate.
No European country has yet fully legalized recreational cannabis, although the Netherlands sells the famous marijuana in ‘coffee shops’, and Spain and Portugal have decriminalized the drug. Portugal has also allowed cannabis for medical use since 2018.
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On hard drugs, the German left can follow the lead of Portugal, which decriminalized possession of all narcotics in 2000. While the sale of drugs remains illegal, the amount of drug-related violence in the country has decreased significantly, and addicts are encouraged to help rather than be imprisoned. Two decades after adopting the controversial measure, Portugal has a drug-related death rate five times lower than the EU average, half as many heroin addicts as in 1999, and an HIV transmission rate that has fallen by an 18-fold.
A 2019 study of the wastewater from 70 European cities revealed that Germany is the meth capital of Europe. The three most used cities – Erfurt, Chemnitz and Dresden – were all found in Germany, followed by Bratislava in Slovakia and Brno in the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, the German city of Saarbrucken was found to have the highest use of amphetamine, a closely related stimulant.
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