Seminar in Manaus discusses good practices in law enforcement regarding drug users

Raimundo Valentim | TJAMManaus, 7 August 2014 - "Drug addicts have a health problem, therefore an increasing number of countries has been changing or discussing modifications in their legislation in order to treat them as subjects of sanitary law, instead of criminal", stated the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Representative for the Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, during a regional seminar in Manaus about best practices in law enforcement regarding drug users.

The event brought together hundreds of health and law professionals on 4 and 5 August, as part of the project "Integrating Competencies in Judicial Activity Performance with Drug Users and Addicts". During the opening of the seminar, Franzini reminded that UNODC studies and the Organization of American States' Hemispheric Drug Strategy have already recognized that progresses in the treatment of the issue of drug abuse and dependency have been placing the individual, and not the substance itself, at the center of public policies on drugs. Brazil's National Secretary for Drug Policies, Vitore Maximiliano, and the President of the State of Amazonas' Court of Justice, Maria das Graças Figueiredo, among other authorities, also participated in the ceremony.

On the second day of the seminar, the Programme Officer for HIV/AIDS at UNODC, Nara Santos, participated in a session about "Good Practices in Drug and Alcohol Prevention in Public Security", during which she presented a proposal for developing a sensitization workshop for public safety professionals and law enforcement officers. The activity would be focused on a harms reduction approach, in order to explore how routine work practices can affect the access of people who use drugs to the healthcare network, especially to Sexual Transmitted Disease, HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, assistance and care. The idea is that the workshop will be implemented in the state of Amazonas by the end of 2014, under a joint initiative of the UN system in the state known as Amazonaids.

The 4th Regional Seminar was held thanks to a partnership between the National Secretariat on Drug Policies of the Ministry of Justice, the National Justice Council and the University of São Paulo.

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