The City of São Paulo hosts the International Seminar on Drug Policies

Opening of the Seminar

São Paulo, 17 November 2014 - On November 13 th, the city of São Paulo hosted the International Seminar on Drug Policies, organized by the Sao Paulo's city Hall, through the Municipal Secretariat of Human Rights and Citizenship (SMDHC). The meeting's goal was to foster the thinking about new concepts and assistance and care policies delivered to persons that do drugs.

The schedule emphasized the experience of the Program "De Braços Abertos", launched by the City of Sao Paulo on January 2014, and brought specialists in the field from Canada, the Netherlands, and Uruguay in order to share best practices on social reinsertion and harm reduction.

The debate concerning best practices on harm reduction and assistance and care to persons that do drugs in Brazil and abroad was the essence of all round tables during the seminar, with special highlight to the Program "De Braços Abertos". During the opening ceremony, the Mayor of Sao Paulo, Mr. Fernando Haddad, underlined the City's program, executed since January in the neighborhood of Luz, has launched a debate in Brazil regarding the diversity on hosting, servicing and approaching.

     Mayor Fernando Haddad

"The learning extrapolates the drug addiction point; it is going to echo through the entire protecting social network, in terms of education look. We are differently facing the problem, noting things before unseen because our sight was blocked by prejudice and distance", affirmed the mayor.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime participated on the event through the presence of Roberta Ataídes on the round table "International experiences on drug policies: best practices in Canada, Uruguay, the Netherlands and the United Nations".

Roberta presented the UNODC's experience in the implementation of the TREATNET project and the publications " From Coercion to Cohesion:  Drug Addiction Treatment through caring, not punishing" and "TREATNET Quality Standards for Drug Dependence Treatment and Care Services", being the latter a result of the TREATNET project's second phase. "The UNODC has been promoting such debate about public policies that ensure the human rights of persons that do drugs, including through the launching of documents such as those I have introduced today. In promoting this seminar, the Sao Paulo's City Hall takes an important step towards improving the care and the assistance to persons that do drugs".

Round table on international experiences

Another well-succeeded experience that was on the seminar's spotlight was the one from Amsterdam. Marcel Buster, from the Amsterdam's Public Health Service, spoke about policies implemented in the Dutch capital in the last years, such as the use of methadone as substitutive drug to heroin and the distribution of syringes for use in controlled environments. "As a result, from 1992 to 2012 there were a huge decrease on the number of users that become HIV patients and also a decrease in age of heroin users. Currently, more than 60% of these users have more than 50 years, fact that evidences the decrease on consumption among youths", explained Buster.

Since ancient times

The special adviser on drug policies of the Municipal Secretariat of Human Rights and Citizenship (SMDHC), Maria Angelica Comis, presented an overview about the use of drugs in humanity since the antiquity and how the subject has been approached throughout the time. In her opinion, the human being, in all historic moments, always does some type of substance for changing the consciousness status. "Since the time to wake up, when we drink coffee, and thus ingest caffeine, we are already doing something to help the awakening. The drug prohibition was a historical and culturally moralistic construction, instead of in reason of the use of substances".

Maria Angelica endorsed that the abusive use of drugs is linked to social exclusion and misery factors, and that the risk reduction is based on the respect of individual rights. In this sense, the experiences on risk reduction start from basic assumptions, such as the user's low requirement, the attention to the immediate, the respect of diversity, the active search, the pragmatism and the humanism. "The risk reduction is a process under constant development, aggregating concepts as the evolution of society".

The seminar was finished with the presentation of other experiences on risk reduction executed in Sao Paulo by the Center 'É de Lei", by the Sao Bernardo do Campo's City Hall, the Psychosocial Care Center (CAPS) Capela do Socorro, the Mauá's Child and Youth Therapeutic Republic and the State's Network on Mental Health (Ecosol).



Source: Prefeitura de São Paulo

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