Norway Government Wants to Decriminalize Heroin Smoking…
Norway Government Wants to Decriminalize Heroin Smoking
March 01, 2013
by Phillip Smith
The Norwegian government said Friday it wants to decriminalize the smoking of heroin as a harm reduction measure, Agence-France Presse reported. Smoking heroin is less dangerous than injecting it, and the move could reduce the number of overdoses, officials said.
“The number of fatal overdoses is too high and I would say it’s shameful for Norway,” said Health Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere. “The way addicts consume their drugs is central to the question of overdoses. My view is that we should allow people to smoke heroin since injecting it is more dangerous,” he said.
According to the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS), heroin overdoses accounted for 30% of 262 fatal overdoses in 2011. By comparison, only 168 people died in traffic accidents that year.
The city of Oslo has opened a supervised injection site in a bid to reduce overdoses, but decriminalizing heroin smoking would also help, said Stoere. Users currently can’t smoke at the supervised injection site.
“This isn’t about some kind of legalization of heroin but about being realistic,” he said.”Those who are in the unfortunate situation of injecting themselves in a drug room should be able to inhale. It is less dangerous, you consume less and the risk of contracting a disease is lower,” he added.
“It’s a paradox that you can’t smoke heroin when you can inject it, since the first method is less dangerous than the second,” SIRUS researcher Astrid Skretting told AFP. “But the culture of injecting which provides a more immediate effect than smoking seems deeply rooted in Norway and it’s not certain that a decriminalization will lead to a radical change in behavior,” she suggested.
The Norwegian government is set to unveil its latest plan for fighting drug addiction next week. Stoere said the heroin smoking decrim plan has the backing of the center-left government.
Norwegian Minister of Health proposed to legalize heroin smoking
By RSA76, Oslo, Norway
March 1, 2013
Health Minister Jonas Gahr Store has proposed to legalize the smoking of heroin as an alternative to intravenous administration of the drug, to reduce the number of deaths from drug overdoses.
The purpose of this proposal, which, according to Store, supported by many in the government – the fight against heroin overdose, administered intravenously.
If the proposal is accepted and approved, from next year in Norway, smoking heroin will not be considered illegal.
“The number of cases of overdose is very high, it is a shame for Norway. It affects the mode of administration of drugs. I believe that we will reduce the number of deaths, if legalize smoking heroin, its intravenous administration causes much greater harm,” – said Store told reporters.
The Minister stressed that the measure is aimed not only at reducing the number of deaths. Rejecting the intravenous drug user is at risk is less than with hepatitis C and AIDS.
According to statistics, in Norway, there are more than 10,000 drug addicts who inject drugs intravenously, most of them – heroin.
In 2011, just under 300 people in Norway have died of drug overdoses, according to NRC. As the journalists offer Store not so radical as the one with which appeared in 2010, a prominent politician and father of the current Prime Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg – he offered to doctors to prescribe heroin incurable addicts, as in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and the UK.
Members of the Association for Drug support liberalization in this area, the proposed current Minister. “The proposal to legalize Store smoking heroin is innovative and could be the salvation for many addicts. Although the Minister of Health is a risky proposition,” – said the head of the association Arild Knutsen.
He hoped that such a measure was introduced in Norway, will bring positive results, for example, in the UK, where legalization reduced the number of drug addicts who use intravenous administration of 30%