The drug again
At the end of the 90s of the last century, the Portuguese indicated drug addiction as the main social problem in the country. After that, structural measures were taken and Portugal became an international reference in the treatment of drug use. Today, we are taking steps back every day. And drug use becomes a serious problem again. Either because of new consumption, or because of the relapses of those who managed to break free, but started consuming again.
How did we get here? There are several answers, but one of them is obvious. The country sat down, vainly, in the shadow of international recognition and believed that everything would be done by itself, even if the centers for assistance to drug addicts (CAT) were closed, even if the technicians were less and less… The result is there. The report in Bairro da Pasteleira, published yesterday in the pages of JN, is revealing of the dimension of the problem.
Rui Moreira has serious reasons to demand that the Government do something, although the target of the mayor of Porto is not the most accurate. Repressive measures do not solve the problem, as has already been demonstrated. The creation of a kicking room was the first step taken by the municipality in the right direction. But it’s not enough. It is also up to the Ministry of Health to fulfill its role and re-equip drug addiction treatment structures with the appropriate means.
The extinction of the Instituto Português da Toxicodependencia, in 2011 – whose most immediate consequence was the disappearance of the CAT -, with the regional health administrations assuming their competences, was perhaps the beginning of the decline. It is time to face the problem seriously, involving the Police, but above all the Ministry of Health. And not just talking about the subject as a parade of junkies, like zombies, that disturbs the most sensitive eyes in prime areas of the city.
*Deputy Executive Editor