By Arkady Petrov

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) sanctioned the law which permits drug users to be hospitalized, even if they do not want to be.

Drug users flock together on a sidewalk in”Crackolandia,” São Paulo. (Photo internet reproduction)

The new law, with guidelines from SISNAD (National System of Public Drug Policy), was published in today’s (June 6th) edition of the DOU (Federal Gazette) with vetoes of parts of the text approved by Congress.

Under the new law, drug users can be taken to treatment centers against their will, but with the consent of a doctor. It can happen at the request of a relative, legal guardian or government worker in the healthcare field, or in SISNAD.

The involuntary hospitalization can only occur after medical approval and can only last for the time necessary for detoxification–90 days maximum.

The Public Ministry and the Public Defender must be informed of the hospitalization within 72 hours. The family or a legal representative can, at any time, require the doctor to suspend the treatment.

Bolsonaro vetoed a section of the text approved by Congress that would have permitted hospitalization in case there was no possibility of medical evaluation for up to seven days.

To explain the veto, the president said that “the provision permitted the possibility of a non-medical professional evaluating the risk of death, which violates the basic right to health of the user or drug addict under these conditions.”

Bolsonaro vetoed the reduction of the penalty for drug traffickers who are not repeat offenders and are not involved in organized crime. For the president, the Congressional text” is more beneficial to the drug-trafficking criminal.”

“(It) ends up allowing more favorable treatment to repeat offenders, who do not have a good background or who are involved in organized crime, which disagrees with the punishment of criminals and with the principles of jurisprudence and the prohibition of improper representation,” he said.

The penalty for drug trafficking is from 5 to 15 years in prison and payment of a daily fine of between R$500 and R$1,500.

The vetoed modification, as voted by Congress, would have increased punishment for those who commit the crime for the first time, with a minimum sentence of eight years of imprisonment and a payment starting with R$800 per day.

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