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Marek Balicki about the Report

„How many Poles die every year due to alcohol consumption? 10 thousand. And how many due to marijuana consumption? Zero. Mr Balicki talks about the “rational” law.
mm 2013-08-21, accessed on 2013-08-21 21:01:48

- The state forgets about the dramatic effects of alcohol  consumption, but at the same time is very consequent in punishing users of marijuana. This is absurd,  tells to TOK FM the former Health Minister Marek Balicki, commenting thus the withering Report of the Polish Addiction Ombudsman.

Poland keeps fighting marijuana users and not drug dealers, while available treatment is similar to the one available 35 years ago, i.e. mostly based on isolation. These are the conclusions of the latest Report of the Polish Addiction Ombudsman, as described by "Gazeta Wyborcza". Conclusions of the Report were commented on Radio TOK FM by Marek Balicki, a former Health Minister and Director of the Wolski Hospital in Warsaw.

„The state forgets about the dramatic effects of alcohol consumption”. 
- The basic question is whether the state can apply such disproportionate measures in case of marijuana? Let’s talk about the alcohol, which is a legal psychoactive substance. Alcohol directly contributes to 10 thousand deaths per year (‘directly’ meaning detrimental effect on health , the data does not include accidents or drowning under influence). And how many deaths are there right  after smoking marijuana? Zero, says Marek Balicki for the Program  "Połaczenie".

-  The state forgets about the dramatic effects of alcohol  consumption, but at the same time is very consequent in punishing users of marijuana. This is absurd, concludes the former Health Minister. 

Jail for 1 gram
- Why does police search young people in order to find small amounts of drugs, intended for personal consumption? Does it solve any issues? No. Severe punishment for possession of small amounts of soft drugs neither make people take less, nor impacts the drug dealers. It does not serve any good purpose.  It creates additional problems in the lives of young people, i.e. difficulties when getting a job with a criminal record.
He also reminds: We know really drastic examples of the application of the law. Among others, the situations have been described when someone was put in jail after being caught twice in possession of  less than 1 gram of marijuana.

"The state wants greater control. What for?"
- The criminalisation of possession of drugs for personal use is a reflection of the state’s desire to increase state control over its citizens. Is it really rational? Is it in line with the standards of human rights protection? Does it produce results? Now we know that it does not, stresses Mr Balicki .

The withering report
The report of the Polish Addiction Ombudsman, a social institution set up by the Polish Drug Policy Network and the JUMP 93 Association, shows that Poland implements anachronistic and ineffective drug policy, aimed mostly at repressions and not prevention or harm reduction, contrary to the recommendations of international organizations working in the field.

The activities of the police and prosecutors are mostly focused at prosecuting for possession. According to the estimates of the Institute of Public Affairs, before 2011 eighty million Polish zlotys were spent annually for that purpose.

Experts in addiction policies are unanimous in stating that alcohol, tobacco and crack present the greatest healthcare and social threat. Meanwhile, these are the marihuana users that are most effectively prosecuted in Poland.

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