Some weeks ago, I participated to ExpoEduca 2007, an exposition about educational opportunities in Uruguay.
At noon I left the exposition to have lunch at the Mall that is in the surroundings. As soon as I left the building a young lady handed me a green leaflet.
This leaflet gave instructions on how to smoke marijuana, how to prepare a joint, how to choose it, etc… I just couldn’t figure out why someone from a health organization was distributing this kind of information to teens. It was just some days later, while listening to the radio, that I discovered why this was happening.
In Uruguay an other kind of drug, that causes much greater damage, is having a great diffusion. It is called pasta base, and it is not very well known in Europe at least. It is a smokable, cheap, and highly addictive street drug. It is made out of chemical leftovers of cocaine processed with kerosene and sulfuric acid. It is usually smoked in pipes and, due to his chemical composition, it is actually extremely toxic and addictive.
The consumption of this drug has dramatically increased in the River Plate after the economic crisis of 2001 and 2002. A dose of pasta base costs in fact only 2$, and some very imaginative ways of selling it are being created (some days ago a woman and her daughter were arrested for selling it inside tortafritas!).
The main problem is that it is extremely dangerous: for 5 minutes of daily euphoria, consumers are risking to suffer from brain death within 6 months!
Under these conditions I can understand that the health ministry is trying to limit damage to society and especially to young people (as the majority of people that are in extreme poverty conditions are under the age of 30). But why don’t they allow legalising the consumption of marijuana if they really want it to become a genuine alternative? This week the debate has been opened again, but it doesn’t look as if it was really going to change something. Let’s wait and see.