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Salud Colectiva

On-line version ISSN 1851-8265

Abstract

MENENDEZ, Eduardo L.. Substances considered addictive: prohibition, harm reduction and risk reduction. Salud Colectiva [online]. 2012, vol.8, n.1, pp. 9-24. ISSN 1851-8265.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1851-82652012000100002.

Latin America is currently the region with the highest rate of homicides worldwide, and a large part of the killings are linked to so-called organized crime, especially drug trafficking. The trafficking of drugs is a consequence of the illegality of certain substances which - at least presently - is based in and legitimated by biomedical criteria that turns the production, commercialization and often the consumption of certain substances considered addictive into "offenses against health." This text briefly analyzes the two policies formulated and implemented thus far in terms of prohibition and harm reduction, considering the failure of prohibitionism as well as the limitations of harm reduction proposals. The constant and multiple inconsistencies and contradictions of prohibitionism are noted, indicating the necessity of regarding cautiously repeated comments about its "failure." The text proposes the implementation of a policy of risk reduction that includes not only the behavior of individuals and groups, but also the structural dimension, both in economic-political and cultural terms.

Keywords : Substances Considered Addictive; Prohibitionist Policies; Harm Reduction; Risk Reduction; Homicide.

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