Reports out of Colombia say that officials in the country’s capital city, Bogota, are looking into a new way to get addicts off of basuco, which is the country’s version of crack cocaine. Authorities want to set up a pilot program to see if marijuana can be beneficial in mitigating the withdrawal symptoms of the basuco.
An expert in Bogota estimates that the city has at least 7,000 “problem users,” which means they could take up to 15 to 20 hits a day. And while basuco isn’t exactly like crack, it is an impure version of cocaine that is common among poorer segments of society in Colombia.
“The first thing you do is to start to reduce the dose. After that, you begin to change the way that it’s administered: if you were injecting heroin, you move to smoking heroin; after smoking heroin, you move to combining it with cannabis; after that, you’re staying with the cannabis,” said Julián Quintero, from the Bogota-based non-profit organization Acción Técnica Social. “What you’re looking for is for the person to reach a point where they can stabilize the consumption and that the consumption doesn’t prevent them from being functional.”
This idea would be met with scorn here in the U.S., especially among most elected officials. And since our federal government does it’s best to squash all kinds of cannabis research, an idea like this probably won’t even be looked into until after legalization on the federal level.
One also has to account for the massive “rehab” industry in this country and how much money they spend to keep cannabis illegal. They need so-called “marijuana addicts” to be forced into their facilities by a court of law, but they also need to avoid cannabis as direct competition for getting people off of hard drugs.
If the program in Bogota is implemented and is successful, at least advocates in other countries will have statistics to point to when proposing a similar idea.