Is Uruguay Considering Giving Joints To Drug Addicted Prisoners?

What a country. Uruguay received global praise when she proudly declared to be the first nation to legalize marijuana. Now Uruguay is seriously considering medical marijuana for its paco-addicted prisoners.

A South American youth smoking Paco

Joints for criminals? Many people would voluntarily go to jail if that becomes the case.

A primary Uruguay health official informed United Nations last week that the country is considering the use of medical marijuana to treat inmates who are addicted to an unrefined and low-priced form of cocaine known as “Paco”. Like Cocaine, this drug sabotages the health of both the body and the mind.

This drug is highly addictive, derived from the residue of cocaine and then mixed with harmful chemicals, dust and occasionally glass. This crude drug has taken the lives of many young people in South America.

On the streets since the 2000s, Paco has wreaked havoc in Uruguay given its widespread availability and extreme affordability.

It’s roughly 30 cents per hit. Uruguay is not the only country suffering the consequences. Paco has created a plague in multiple South American countries including Argentina and Brazil. The majority of Paco addicts are put behind bars in the hope that they’ll overcome the addiction in prison.

However, jail simply does not provide the environment a cocaine addict requires. The withdrawals of cocaine are most ostensible on the nervous system and range from vivid and unpleasant dreams to severe depression. 

This viewpoint was reiterated by Leonel Briozzo, a public health official in a United Nations meeting last Thursday. "Jail is not a very suitable place for someone to safely overcome drug addiction," he stressed. Most would agree that it’s critical for Uruguay to look at new approaches for drug treatment.

Documented research on the effects of treating hard-drug addicts with medical marijuana is still ongoing and inconclusive. However, this has not stopped countries such as Colombia from considering this method as an option.

Members of the International Drug Policy Consortium clarify that marijuana will not try to replace more dangerous drugs such as cocaine, but instead help the transition. It is known to help alleviate some of the anxieties associated with withdrawal.