Intended for healthcare professionals


Drug laws in Latin America

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 13 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3752
  1. Bob Roehr, journalist
  1. 1Washington, DC
  1. BobRoehr{at}

    Bob Roehr reports on the wave of decriminalisation in the continent and the implications for harm reduction

    Last August the Supreme Court of Argentina unanimously ruled that the drug law criminalising possession of illicit drugs for personal use was unconstitutional. Martin Acuna, a Buenos Aires judge who is active in harm reduction activities, said that too much money was being spent on policing, prosecuting, and incarcerating persons for these crimes; the judges pushed for a change.

    Chile decriminalised possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use in 2005, following the lead of Paraguay (1988) and Uruguay (1998). Brazil changed its policy in 2006. Mr Acuna said that …

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