Argentinian organizations demand emergency law on drug addiction

Buenos Aires, Feb 7 (EFE).- Organizations in Argentina on Monday urged the government to adopt a “comprehensive approach” to the problem of drug use, discuss drug trafficking as a structural issue and approve an emergency law on addiction after the death of 21 people from the use of adulterated cocaine on the outskirts of the capital.

“We have gathered due to the more than 20 deaths that occurred last week, with respect to the victims who were killed by drug trafficking and affect the poorest neighborhoods every day,” Natalia Zaracho, a national deputy of the ruling Frente de Todos coalition, told EFE.

The leftist group, Corriente Clasista y Combativa (CCC) together with the Ni un Pibe Menos por la Droga anti-addiction movement and political leaders held a press conference on Monday in the heart of Buenos Aires, where they said that “drug trafficking proliferates thanks to police protection.”

A total of 21 people died and more than 80 were admitted to hospitals in Buenos Aires province after consuming adulterated cocaine last week.

“In Argentina, six out of ten children under the age of eighteen are poor, and this situation contributes to the general growth of consumption,” the groups said.

On the other hand, they explained the urgency of amending the law that criminalizes drug possession and trafficking in the country to avoid punishing the “victims of this social scourge.”

“We know that young people don’t have an opportunity or possibility of choosing another kind of life. They do not have access to education, health, to have a home or a decent job,” Zaracho said.

She said she will present a bill in parliament for an emergency to be declared in addictions in order to address the problem throughout the country.

“The law must be urgent because the poorer sectors are shouting that our young people cannot wait any longer,” she said.

Following the 21 deaths due to the use of adulterated cocaine supplied in the vicinity of the Puerta 8 community in the suburbs of the capital, the health ministry has issued an epidemiological alert in hospitals for the treatment of patients suffering from overdose.

On Friday, Argentina’s immigration authorities ordered the expulsion of and permanent re-entry ban on Joaquín “Paisa” Aquino, a Paraguayan national identified as the main suspect in the sale of the drugs.

Sebastián Sánchez, a local leader of the Vientos de Libertad organization, told EFE that it was necessary “to think of drug trafficking as a structure and not that this happens only in the poorest neighborhoods.”

“The drug traffickers are complicit with the police, the political establishment, and it is a very big mistake, which the media made, to think that drug trafficking only happens in the neighborhoods,” he said.

“It is important not to focus on the neighborhoods or young people, but outside on the police, on the mafia network and on the mayors of the suburbs who are accomplices,” he added.

Lastly, he said that the legalization of drugs is not a discussion for people with limited resources, but for the upper classes.

“We live in places where we do not have access to roads or drinking water and the conditions are still very complex. Legalization is not discussed on the agenda of the poorer neighborhoods. Access to work, housing and public policies that improve the quality of life are discussed,” he concluded. EFE


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