UNODC participates in a workshop to debate the National Drug Policy


Rafael Franzini, UNODC

Natal, 2 October, 2015 - Last Thursday, the Representative of the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, attended the "Workshop on Drug Policy in Rio Grande do Norte". The event was organized by the Escola de Magistratura do Rio Grande do Norte (Esmarn) in partnership with the Public Ministry of Rio Grande do Norte.

The workshop constitutes an effort to promote the "Projeto Transformando Destinos" project and it aims to raise awareness and to discuss issues related to national drug policy, seeking a conceptual alignment of the theme and building partnerships with the Justice System and the local government entities.

At the opening of the event, the Attorney General of Justice, Rinaldo Kings Lima, congratulated not only the efforts of the MPRN members, but also "those who have embraced the cause." In that moment, he emphasized that holding the event in the Esmarn auditorium represents the MPRN's expectation to facilitate the Judiciary working together with the various prosecutors involved in the project.

The President of the "Associação do Ministério Público (AMPERN)", Public Prosecutor Eudo Rodrigues Leite, recognized the importance of the Cosern's support for the "Transformando Destinos" project, stating that "the project is no longer just an action expressed by the MPRN, but it has already consolidated itself as an articulated initiative in the Potiguar society".

In the second period of the workshop, the Director of Drug Policy Coordination of the National Secretariat on Drug Policy (Senad), Leon Garcia, gave a presentation on the Brazilian legislation and the distinction between a "dealer" and a "user". The Director stated that "these concepts are being determined at the time of arrest and violation of the law, unlike in other countries, who already have objective criteria that distinguishes between these two individuals, and who also consider the amount of drugs in possession and the frequency of use, for example." For the panelist, "the biggest challenge to the policy at present is to avoid seeing users as the criminals, but to see them as the potential target of public health policies and of social assistance.

Following this was the round table discussion on the theme, "A National and International Panorama on Drug Policy: prevention, care and demand reduction." The UNODC representative, Rafael Franzini, discussed the importance of preventative strategies against drug use that involve working closely with families, schools and communities. "Evidence shows that for every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten dollars can be saved in future costs related to the health, welfare and crimes"; said Franzini. Also participating in the discussion were Senad's Director of Drug Policy Coordination, Leon Garcia, and a representative of the Federal Police and Assistant Secretary of the State Department on Public Safety and Social Defense, Gaius Caesar Marques Bezerra.

The event's target audience included representatives from the Civil and Military Police, executive secretariats of the municipalities of Natal, Parnamirim, Mossoro, Parelhas and of the State, members of the Public Ministry of Rio Grande do Norte, Magistrates and Public Defenders. 

*With information of the  Ministério Público do Rio Grande do Norte

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