L-abort: nippruvaw niddiskutu bil-kalma

Id-dibattitu dwar l-abort hu wieħed emottiv. L-insulti u t-tgħajjir li għaddejjin huma bla limitu. Huwa f’din l-atmosfera li qed issir id-diskussjoni. Ċerti nies ma jitgħallmu qatt.

Id-dibattitu huwa ibbażat fuq l-istess punt fundamentali tad-dibattitu dwar id-divorzju: fil-pajjiż jirrenja l-pluraliżmu etiku. Jiġifieri jeżistu valuri kuntrastanti. Kuntrasti li ilhom jinbnew ftit ftit tul is-snin imma li ġew moħbija mil-lenti pubblika. Id-diskussjoni kienet waħda ipprojibita. Ma saritx minħabba l-biża’ minn soċjetà intolleranti, frott tal-fundamentaliżmu li għixna fih għal ħafna snin. Is-soċjetà tagħna illum żviluppat f’soċjetà lajka li immanifestat ruħha fir-referendum dwar id-divorzju u fl-aċċettazzjoni tad-drittijiet LGBTIQ.

Mhux kull abort hu xorta. Mhuwiex ġustifikat li taqbad l-“agħar każ ta’ abort” u tuża lilu bħala eżempju.

Il-kampanja kontra l-abort hi iffukata fuq abort bla limitu li ma jeżisti kważi mkien. Fuq l-iktar każ estrem, kontinwament jinbena argument li jappella għall-emozzjonijiet flok għar-raġuni. Argument li jbezza’ lil uħud imma li ma jikkonvinċix lill-kotra li kapaċi taħseb b’moħħa.

Il-kampanja favur id-dritt tal-għażla (pro-choice) min-naħa l-oħra tagħmlu l-argument li mara għandha dritt li tagħżel dak li trid, x’ħin trid u bla ma jindaħlilha ħadd. Dan jinkludi dritt li tagħżel jekk u meta tidħol għal abort. Argument neoliberali fejn il-libertà individwali m’għandhiex limiti.

Id-dibattitu hu kuntrast bejn dawn iż-żewġ estremi. Id-djalogu min-naħa l-oħra taf twasslek x’imkien ieħor li jkun aċċettat abort f’każijiet limitati fejn is-sens komun jgħidlek li dan hu ġustifikat. L-argumenti emottivi dan kollu jinjorawh u allura jimminaw d-diskussjoni matura li tant neħtieġu f’dan il-pajjiż. Il-pajjiż ma jeħtiegx l-abort bħala stil ta’ ħajja imma l-abort bħala rimedju f’ċirkustanzi straordinarji.

F’Malta l-abort isir. Jagħmluh n-nisa li jixtru pilloli online u jeħduhom mingħajr ma jikkonsultaw tabib, bil-kumplikazzjonijiet kollha possibli. Ma teżistix statistika dwar kemm minnhom jidħlu l-isptar bħala riżultat ta’ dan.

L-abort isir ukoll fl-isptar Mater Dei f’ċirkustanzi fejn tittieħed azzjoni biex tkun imħarsa l-ħajja ta’ nisa tqal li jiffaċċjaw kumplikazzjonijiet fit-tqala. Riċentment kellna l-polemika dwar t-tqala magħrufa bħala “ectopic”, jiġifieri meta l-bajda ffertilizzata teħel f’tubu intern fil-mara. Dan it-tubu (Fallopian tube) hu żgħir u jekk ma tittieħed l-ebda ażżjoni jinfaqa’ u jipperikola l-ħajja tal-mara tqila.

Il-kura li tingħata f’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi hi mediċina li taqla’ l-bajda iffertilizzata minn mat-tubu u tarmiha. Jekk dan idum ma jseħħ jikber il-periklu u tkun meħtieġa operazzjoni. Fiż-żewġ każi dan hu abort li bħalu jsiru numru kull sena f’Mater Dei. Imma ħadd ma jgħid xejn, għax kulħadd jaċċetta li dan hu intervent meħtieġ, anke jekk il-liġi tqis din is-sitwazzjoni bħala illegali.

Hu ċar li l-opinjoni pubblika f’Malta, fil-parti l-kbira taċċetta l-abort meta dan hu meħtieġ biex iħares il-ħajja tal-mara. Meta tiddiskuti bosta jaslu biex jaċċettaw li l-abort f’dawn iċ-ċirkustanzi hu tollerabbli.

Hemm ċirkustanzi oħra fejn l-abort hu inqas kontroversjali. Qed nirreferi għal meta jsir abort f’kaz ta’ stupru jew f’każ ta’ inċest. Fejn it-tqala hi sfurzata, bi vjolenza, hu ġustifikat li jsir abort preferibilment fil-fażi l-iktar kmieni possibli tat-tqala. Mara li għaddiet minn vjolenza ma tistax issib il-liġi bojja lesta biex tikkastigha, għax inkella tispiċċa soġġetta għal vjolenza doppja.

Xi żmien ilu ktibt artiklu fejn kont ikkumentajt dwar il-fatt li hawn min fil-fażi inizjali tat-tqala jagħmel xi testijiet u jekk minnhom jirriżulta xi difetti fil-fetu, il-mara tirrikorri għal abort. Dan mhux aċċettabbli. Imma mhux biżżejjed li ngħidu hekk. Hemm ħtieġa li nifhmu lil min jagħmel din l-għażla u nistaqsu jekk parti mir-raġuni hijiex soċjetà li ma tindukrax biżżejjed familji li jgħaddu minn sitwazzjonijiet ta’ disabililtà. Minkejja li sar progress kbir xorta għad hawn nuqqas enormi kemm ta’ komprensjoni kif ukoll ta’ għajnuna iffukata lejn min għandu bżonnha.

Xi kultant naqraw b’min jirrikorri għal abort għax it-tqala u t-twelid jitqiesu xkiel għall-iżvilupp tal-karriera! Hemm soluzzjonijiet diversi għal dawn it-tip ta’ ċirkustanzi, minn edukazzjoni aħjar dwar is-saħħa riproduttiva għal sens ikbar ta’ responsabbilta’ mhux biss tal-mara imma wkoll tar-raġel.

L-aħħar eżempju huwa fejn issir għażla favur l-abort minħabba l-faqar. Jintqal li hawn każi fejn il-mezzi ta’ familja huma tant ristretti li ma jifilħux għal wild ieħor. Anke hawn hemm soluzzjonijiet li minħabba n-nuqqas ta’ dibattitu pubbliku ftit li xejn jiġu esplorati. Irridu nindirizzaw l-għerq tal-faqar u mhux il-konsegwenzi tiegħu. Inkella nibqgħu fejn konna. Anke hawn in-nuqqas ta’ edukazzjoni dwar is-saħħa riproduttiva hu enormi.

Mhux in-nisa biss jeħtieġilhom jitgħallmu iktar imma anke l-irġiel għandhom ħtieġa kbira għal dan: uħud jeħtieġu doża iktar qawwija ta’ rispett u sens ta’ responsabbiltà.

Id-dekriminalizzazzjoni, almenu f’ċerta aspetti, hi parti essenzjali mit-tibdil meħtieġ. L-ebda mara m’għandha tkun soġġetta għal passi kriminali għax ħadet il-pilloli li waslulha bil-posta inkella għax irrikorriet b’xi mod għall-abort wara vjolenza li taqqlitha. Il-mara li tagħmel abort hi ukoll vittma hi stess u teħtieġ l-għajnuna u mhux is-swat tal-liġi.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu l-proposta ta’ Marlene Farrugia iktar kmieni din il-ġimgha ser isservi biex taċċellera d-dibattitu pubbliku. Imma jkolli ngħid li saret ftit bil-għaġġla u hija nieqsa minn preparazzjoni pubblika dwarha.

Neħtieġu dibattitu kalm għax hu b’hekk biss li nistgħu nifhmu iktar lil xulxin. Dan hu dibattitu li mhux ser jispiċċa fi ftit ġranet iżda ser idum. Jekk ma nagħmluħx bil-kalma ma nkunu wasalna mkien.

ippubblikat fuq Illum : il-Ħadd 16 ta’Mejju 2021

The abortion debate

The abortion debate is very emotional. Many insults are flying around. Some, unfortunately never learn.

The basic premise underlying the abortion debate is identical to that of the divorce debate: ethical pluralism reigns. Meaning that different values and attitudes co-exist. It is a clash of values that has been building up over a number of years, far away from the public eye.  Discussion has been continuously postponed due to the fear generated by an intolerant society founded on fundamentalism. A lay society has in the meantime developed and manifested itself clearly in the divorce referendum and subsequent acceptance of LGBTIQ rights.

It is incorrect to select “the worst” type of abortion and presenting it as the prototype

The “pro-life” campaign against abortion is focusing on “abortion on demand” which practically does not exist anywhere and presenting this as the prototype.  On this basis the campaign propagates an emotionally charged message instead of appealing to a reasoned approach. A message aimed at instilling extreme fear even though it is not the least convincing.

The pro-choice campaign on the other hand argues that a woman has the right to determine her choices without interference from anyone. This includes the right to determine if and when to have an abortion. This is a neo-liberal attitude which considers that there are no limits to individual liberty.

The debate is a contrast between these two extremes. Dialogue, on the other hand, leads you elsewhere, considering the exceptional circumstances in which an abortion may be justified. The emotional arguments ignore all this thereby undermining the mature discussion which this country has a right to. The country does not require abortion as a lifestyle: rather it is required as a remedy in extraordinary circumstances.

Abortion is practised in Malta. It is practised by women who purchase abortion pills online which they take without medical direction. All sorts of medical complications arise.  No statistics are available as to the number of those who require hospitalisation as a result.

Abortion is carried out at Mater Dei Hospital in circumstances to safeguard the life of women who face serious complications at some point in their pregnancy.  Recently the press highlighted the controversy on ectopic pregnancies, that is when a fertilised ovum is lodged in the female Fallopian tube. If left untreated this leads to a rupture of the said tube thereby placing the life of the pregnant woman in extreme danger.  

The medicine administered in such cases serves to dislodge the fertilised ovum which is subsequently discharged. If there is a delay in administering the medicine, or if this is ineffective, a physical intervention (surgery) would be essential.  In both circumstances this is an abortion which is carried out a number of times annually in the state hospital. However, no one ever complains as it is considered by all as a necessary and essential intervention, even if the law considers this as an illegal situation.

It is clear to all that public opinion in Malta generally accepts abortion when this is carried out to address the danger to the life of a pregnant woman.. At the end of the day in these circumstances abortion is tolerated.  

There are other circumstances when abortion is acceptable. I refer to cases of rape or incest. When a pregnancy is the result of violence, an abortion, preferably in the earliest possible stages of a pregnancy is acceptable.  A woman who has been subjected to violence should find comfort in the law otherwise she would be subject to violence for a second time.

Some time back I had written an article about tests being carried out in order to identify specific abnormalities in the foetus. In such cases depending on the results of the tests, abortions are being carried out.

This selectivity is definitely unacceptable. However, one must look beyond this and try to understand the underlying reasons for such choices. One would immediately understand that the prospective parent/s are making a forceful statement that notwithstanding existing help they feel that they are not able to shoulder the burden of the indicated disability. Notwithstanding the substantial progress registered over the years there are still substantial gaps. Parents feel this much more than anyone else. 

Occasionally we read about abortion resorted to in order not to endanger career development.  There are alternatives to such a course of action starting from education on reproductive health which ought to instil a greater sense of responsibility in both man and woman.

Poverty is another situation which may lead to opting for an abortion. It has been asserted that in circumstances of poverty a woman may opt for an abortion. Alternatives exist even in such circumstances: these have however been ignored.   It is poverty which has to be addressed and not its consequences.  Even in these circumstances the impact of a lack of education on reproductive health is glaring.  

Providing adequate reproductive health education would in the long run lead to less abortions.  This is required not just by women but also by men who generally require a greater sense of responsibility.

Decriminalisation is central to the change required. No woman should be subject to criminal action for making use of abortion pills which she receives through the post or for opting for an abortion after being violently impregnated. Women who opt for abortion are themselves victims who should find full protection of the law and not be criminalised.

In the light of the above the proposals put forward by Marlene Farrugia earlier this week will aid the development of the public debate.  Unfortunately matters were done somewhat in a hurry as the public was not prepared for these developments. But maybe shocking the public was part of the strategy!

We require a calm debate as this is the only manner in which we can clearly understand each other’s arguments. This is a debate that will not be over in a few days.  Being rational and calm is the least we can do.

Published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 16 May 2021

Il-Kunsill tal-Għarb u l-cannabis

epa02310452 A worker tends to cannabis plants at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near the northern Israeli town of Safed on 31 August 2010. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, the company currently distributes cannabis or Marijuana for medicinal purposes to over 1,800 people to help relieve pain caused by various health conditions. EPA/ABIR SULTAN ISRAEL OUT

Qrajna l-bieraħ li l-Kunsill tal-Għarb qed jikkunsidra li jieħu passi legali kontra omm Daniel Holmes wara li hi għaddiet kumment dwar il-fejqan ta’ diversi persuni li ġew imfejqa minn Frenċ tal-Għarb. Omm Daniel Holmes kienet ikkwotata li qalet li issa hu magħruf li dan il-fejqan sar permezz tal-użu tal-cannabis.

Issa jiena ma nafx jekk hux vera jew le li Frenċ ta’ Għarb kellu konoxxenza tal-kwalitajiet terrapewċi tal-cannabis. Imma din mhiex ħaġa kbira, għax, minn dak li nafu dwaru kellu konoxxenza profonda tan-natura b’mod partikolari tal-ħxejjex li jikbru fis-“selvaġ” li kien jagħmel użu tagħhom kontinwament biex ifejjaq.

In-natura fir-realtà tipprovdi l-kura għal ħafna mard u kundizzjonijiet li jkidduna u huwa għaqli kull min jagħraf dan.

Għalhekk, kieku jiena, xejn ma neħodha bi kbira aħbar bħal din li  ħarġet biha s-sinjura Holmes. Jekk inhi vera, din hi aħbar li żżid bil-bosta r-reputazzjoni ta’ Frenċ tal-Għarb. Għax mhux biss kien qabel żmienu, imma saħansitra kien iktar avvanzat mill-Gvernijiet ta’ Malta tal-bieraħ u tal-lum jekk kellu għarfien ukoll tal-kwalitajiet terrapewtiċi tal-cannabis.

Wasal iż-żmien li d-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għal użu personali nieħduha ftit iktar bis-serjetà bħalma għamlu bosta pajjiżi oħra qabilna. Hemm bżonn li niddiskutu iktar bis-serjetà l-kaz ta’ Daniel Holmes u tas-sentenza inġusta ta’ għaxar snin ħabs li weħel minħabba li kellu fil-pusess tiegħu, għall-użu personali, pjanti tal-cannabis.

Li qed tgħid is-sinjura Holmes hu li għad baqa’ ħafna x’nitgħallmu mingħand Frenċ tal-Għarb. Anke dwar il-cannabis.

 

 

 

David iħobb lil “Mary Jane”

mary_jane

David Camilleri, li fl-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali kien kandidat ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika fuq Għawdex u iktar tard kandidat għall-Kunsill Lokali tal-Qala, f’post fuq facebook akkumpanjat b’ritratt tiegħu b’dik li tidher tixbah pjanta tal-kannabis, jilmenta li ħaduhielu. Ilmenta li qed iħoss sewwa n-nuqqas tagħha għax qal li kienet tfejqu mill-uġiegħ ta’ ras. Jirreferi għaliha bħal “Mary Jane”.

Is-sit elettroniku tal-gazzetta Illum, is-sit elettroniku tal-aħbarijiet iNews kif ukoll l-Orizzont ippubblikaw din l-aħbar bir-ritratt b’kollox. INews u L-Orizzont ippubblikaw ukoll kumment ta’ Arnold Cassola Chairman ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika. Il-kummenti tal-Illum huma sarkastiċi fil-konfront ta’ David Camilleri, jibbottjaw li forsi għandu skorfina nieqsa jew ftit maħlula.

Kif emfasizza tajjeb Arnold Cassola, Chairman ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika, billi l-każ jirrigwarda pjanta waħda tal-kannabis, AD ma għandha l-ebda diffikulta dwar dan, u dan minħabba li ilha żmien li ddikjarat ruħha favur id-dikriminalizzazzjoni tal-pussess ta’ droga għall-użu personali. AD ilha ukoll li iddikjarat ruħha favur l-użu mediċinali tal-kannabis. Għax il-kannabis hi droga bħalma hu droga t-tabakk. Bid-differenza li t-tabakk hu legali u fuqu tħallas it-taxxa tas-sisa.

Sfortunatament il-Gvern lablab wisq u għalkemm għamel passi l-quddiem, mexa ftit wisq fuq din l-issue.

Konformi ma dak li temmen, lil David Camilleri Alternattiva Demokratika mhux ser tikkundannah. Ngħid biss li meta jaf l-attitudnijiet konservattivi madwaru x’saħħa għandhom, David Camilleri qatt ma messu ta’ pubbliċità żejda lil din il-materja. Kien ikun ħafna aħjar li ħalla kollox kwiet, fil-privat, bejnu u “Mary Jane”. Kieku forsi min jaf, għadu bi kwietu.

Kienet baħnanata da parti ta’ David li ppubblika r-ritratt u l-kummenti fuq facebook.

Fiċ-Ċukaj għadhom lura

handcuffs

 

Meta taqra l-artiklu ta’ Ivan Fenech fit-Times tal-lum tirrealizza kemm għadhom lura fiċ-Ċukaj. Qiesu għandhom lin-Nazzjonalisti  fil-Gvern.

Fiċ-Ċukaj għadhom ma rrealizzawx li l-vittmi tad-droga protezzjoni jeħtieġu. Għadhom ma irrealizzawx li lill-vittmi tad-droga mhux lill-pulizija għandhom bżonn ma saqajhom iżda persuni b’impenn soċjali li jgħinuhom ifittxu triq aħjar li ma tagħmillhomx ħsara għal saħħithom.

Fiċ-Ċukaj għadhom jiddistingwu bejn l-alkohol u drogi oħra.

Fiċ-Ċukaj għadhom ma semgħux bil-progress kbir li sar fil-Portugall minn mindu iddikriminalizzaw l-użu tad-droga għal użu personali!

Għaċ-Ċukaj il-ħabs għadu soluzzjoni. Meta fir-realta’ hu parti mill-problema.

Id-droga: il-PN u d-dikriminalizzazzjoni

decriminalisation of drugs

 

Dal-għodu attendejt għal seminar organizzat mill-MŻPN fuq il-White Paper ippubblikata mill-Gvern dwar id-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għall-użu personali.

Kien hemm bosta interventi utli u studjati minn persuni impenjati.

Il-proposta ċentrali, kif spjegajt fl-intervent qasir tiegħi, hi biex is-soċjeta’ tibni mill-ġdid il-pontijiet mal-vittmi tad-droga. Dan billi tagħtihom l-għajnuna meta tibda tittrattahom ta’ vittmi u mhux ta’ kriminali.

Il-politika dwar id-droga, f’kull pajjiż, hi mibnija fuq 4 elementi: l-prevenzjoni, it-trattament, it-tnaqqis tal-ħsara (harm reduction) u l-kastig.

Sal-lum f’Malta iffukajna iktar fuq il-kastig. Bir-riforma proposta l-pussess sempliċi ta’ droga għall-użu personali mhux ser jibqa’ delitt u s-soċjeta’ tagħna ser tagħmel pass il-quddiem billi ma tibqax tikkunsidra lill-vittmi bħala kriminali. Dan ifisser li ser isir sforz u ser ikun possibli li jkunu dedikati iktar riżorsi biex il-vittmi tad-droga jingħataw iktar għajnuna biex minn l-iktar kmieni  jkun possibli li jgħarfu jrabbu iktar kuraġġ biex jaffrontaw il-problemi li jiffaċċjaw.

Alternattiva Demokratika taqbel ma dan u fil-fatt fil-Manifest Elettorali għall-Elezzjoni tal-2013 kienet l-unika partit politiku li poġġiet il-proposta tad-dikriminalizzazzjoni fuq l-agenda politika Maltija.

Irridu nitgħallmu mill-esperjenzi ta’ ħaddieħor. Għandna l-esperjenza tal-Portugall li 14-il sena ilu għamlu dan il-pass. Illum diġa bdew jaħsdu l-frott. In partikolari r-riċerka fil-Portugall ikkonkludiet li hemm tnaqqis sostanzjali fost iż-żgħażagħ bejn il-15 u l-24 sena li għamlu użu mid-droga.  Ġie rreġistrat ukoll tnaqqis sostanzjali f’mard assoċjat mat-teħid tad-droga.

Il-futur f’dan il-qasam fih possibilitajiet tajbin.

Nistennew issa x’posizzjoni ser jieħu l-PN u dan billi fid-diskors ippreparat tiegħu il-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni Simon Busuttil qagħad attent ħafna li jitkellem kontra li l-vittmi tad-droga  jintbagħtu l-ħabs. Imma fl-ebda ħin ma kien ċar dwar id-dikriminalizzazzjoni. Fil-fatt qagħad attent li ma jgħid xejn dwar dan. Ovvjament dan hu l-istil tiegħu minħabba li probabilment illi d-diskussjoni interna fil-Partit Nazzjonalista għadha għaddejja.

Jekk fil-fatt id-diskussjoni fil-PN tiġix fi tmiemha għad irridu naraw. Dak li iddeċieda l-PN fil-passat riċenti dwar id-divorzju u dwar id-drittijiet tal-persuni LGBT m’huwiex awgurju tajjeb dwar x’għandna nistennew.

Imma dak, wara kollox, li tista’ tistenna minn partit konservattiv. Nistennew u naraw.

 

Ara ukoll fuq dan il-blog: Alternattiva Demokratika Position Paper on Reform in Drug Policy

 

Jekk trid il-bidla trid tivvota għaliha

 

 

decriminalisation of drugs

 

iNews il-bieraħ irrapporta li huma biss 14% tal-Maltin li jaqblu mad-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għall-użu personali. iNews kienu qed jirrappurtaw studju tal-Eurobarometer għall-Kummissjoni Ewropeja fl-okkazjoni tal-Jum Internazzjonali kontra l-Abbuż mid-Droga.

14% biss.

Alternattiva Demokratika hu l-uniku partit politiku li fl-elezzjoni ġenerali tal-2013 kellu programm elettorali li tkellem b’mod ċar favur id-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għall-użu personali.

La l-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-anqas il-Partit Laburista ma għamlu dan.  Mhux biss. Iżda kull meta kelliema ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika irreferew għad-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga, dawn kien jevitaw li jwieġbu u ġeneralment kienu jitkellmu fuq xi ħaġa oħra.

Fil-fatt fil-Manifest Elettorali tal-AD, fil-Kapitlu 3, intitolat L-Alkohol u drogi oħra jingħad hekk:

Għandna naħdmu sabiex tonqos il-pressjoni li twassal persuni sabiex jirrikorru għad-drogi kemm dawk legali u dawk illegali. Għalina d-droga mhix biss problema ta’ liġi u ordni iżda hi prinċipalment problema li għandha għeruq soċjali fondi. Fil-fatt l-alkoħol, il-kalmanti u s-sigaretti, minkejja li huma legali, joħolqu dipendenza u problemi b’implikazzjonijiet soċjali serji.

L-użu personali tad-drogi għandu jigi dekriminalizzat. Vittmi tad-droga għandhom jitqiesu bħala nies li jeħtieġu għajnuna, u mhux bħala kriminali. Fl-istess ħin, dekriminalizzazzjoni tiżgura wkoll li dawk li jużaw id-drogi għal skop rikreattiv, inkluż dawk li jikkultivaw id-drogi ħfief għall-użu personali, ma jigux kriminalizzati minħabba l-mod ta’ għixien tagħhom.”

Il-parti l-kbira ta’ l-14% tal-votanti Maltin li jaqblu mad-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għall-użu personali għażlu li ma jivvutawx għal AD, għax AD ġiebet 1.8% tal-voti. 12.2% tal-votanti Maltin tilfu opportunita tad-deheb li jkunu rappreżentati minn partit politiku li jaqbel magħhom.

Il-vot tagħhom mhux biss kien jiswa’ iżda kien jagħmel id-differenza għax 14% tal-voti kienu jissarfu f’bejn wieħed u ieħor 10 siġġijiet Parlamentari. U meta tqis li d-differenza bejn il-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni fil-Parlament illum hi ta’ 9 siġġijiet, altru li kien ikun hemm differenza.

L-14% li jaqblu mad-dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għall-użu personali tilfu opportunita’ tad-deheb.

Hu l-mument li kulħadd jaħseb ftit. Jekk trid il-bidla trid tivvota għaliha. Ma sseħħ l-ebda bidla mingħajr il-vot tiegħek.

L-użu mediku tal-ħaxixa

cannabis

Il-bieraħ fil-Parlament, waqt l-aġġornament, it-Tabib Godfrey Farrugia li sa ftit ilu kien Ministru tas-Saħħa għamel diskors importanti dwar l-użu mediku tal-ħaxix – il-kannabis.

Id-diskors tiegħu ġie riprodott fl-Independent u iNews  . 

Nieħu pjaċir li t-Tabib Farrugia ħareġ b’dawn l-ideat. Ideat li jisfidaw il-preġudizzji u l-kontroversja.

Huwa tajjeb iżda li nfakkar li fil-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika għall-elezzjoni ġenerali tal-2013 hemm preċiżament din l-istess proposta li għamel it-Tabib Farrugia.

“L-użu tal-kannabis għal raġunijiet mediċi għandu jkun regolarizzat.” [ara Manifest AD Kapitlu 3, intitolat Alkoħol u Drogi oħra]

Id-diskussjoni dwar id-drogi għandha tibda issir bis-serjeta’ f’dan il-pajjiż. Huwa verament ħasra li Alternattiva Demokratika biss, fost il-partiti politiċi fittxet li tagħmel dan. Id-diskors ta’ Godfrey Farrugia huwa xhieda li dan hu possibli li jsir. Kemm dwar l-użu mediku tal-ħaxixa kif ukoll dwar il-ħtieġa urġenti ta’ programm ta’ dikriminalizzazzjoni tad-droga għal użu personali. Hemm ħafna x’nitgħallmu minn dak li għamlu pajjiżi oħra.

Mill-ġdid, prosit Godfrey.

Alternattiva Demokratika Position Paper on Reform in Drug Policy

Portugal.decriminalisation

Paper Presented to the Justice Reform Commission by Robert Callus

AD Spokesman on Social Policy

All countries in the world use a combination of 4 measures to tackle the even increasing drug problem. These are: Prevention, treatment, harm reduction and punishment.

Unfortunately most countries (including Malta) have so far focused too much on punishment at the expense of the other three. The biggest problem with punishing drug users is not only that it uses financial and human resources that could have been used for the other three measures but also that it directly interferes in their success rate.

The Portuguese model is so successful mostly for this reason. Hard drug use, crime and transmitted diseases would not have significantly decreased if it just decriminalized personal use (remove punishment.) What Portugal did was take this opportunity to strengthen the other three more successful measures in combating this problem.

Prevention

Most drug users start at a young age, mostly in their early and mid-teens.

There is a surmounting amount of research on why some young people take drugs (and/or become addicted on them) and some don’t. For instance self esteem, vulnerability to peer pressure, stability in the family are the most common of variables that indicate whether a person is at more risk than others.

However, as simple as this may seem, there is one common reason that comes out clear from  any research available or even from a short conversation with a drug user: These people use drugs because they believe they need them. (The only possible exception to this rule of thumb is in the case of people who have used drugs occasionally due to peer pressure only. However these people are the least likely to become drug addicts and one should be more concerned about the rest)

Be it to overcome shyness, depression, anxiety, or tiredness, drug users – especially the ones who go on to become addicts – feel, at that point in time that the pros of overcoming that negative feeling are higher than the cons of using the drugs.

On the other hand, as is made clear in the Global Commission Report on Drug Policy, http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports/ fear of the law (unlike fear of addiction) is not a common deterrent for young people not to take drugs.

Thus in order to prevent as many people as possible from commencing drug use society needs to focus on our children’s coping mechanisms because if that fails, they
are very likely to try to cope with drugs, irrespective of whether they legal or not.

Treatment

According to Hazelden’s drug treatment organization  www.hazelden.org   (whose extensive work on the 12 step model is widely used with very successful results today including in our own OASI rehabilitation centre), drug addiction is a disease and should be treated as a disease by policy makers.

And like HIV or cancer won’t go away if you threaten the afflicted with punishment, neither will drug addiction.

Thus, our first goal is to get as many addicts as possible realize that they actually need to be treated. Once again this is what Portugal managed to do with successful results.

Since decriminalization, if a person is caught with drugs for personal use in Portugal, all he is obliged to do is one thing: Be interviewed by a Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction which consists of a social worker, a psychiatrist and an attorney. Though the Commission does have limited powers (including giving a fine of up to 150 Euro if a person refuses treatment) its main aim is to give advice and if need be invite people to seek further help. http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/drug-decriminalization-policy-pays

The rationale behind this is that while society has literally “lost” every person arrested for drug possession by placing him on the wrong side of the law, through this system, a substantial amount of these people realize that they do need help and that society is offering it.

Instead of burning bridges with drug addicts, it works on building them.

Once again, the increase in demand for treatment services, is financed by money that would have otherwise been spent on prosecuting drug addicts.

Harm Reduction

Some addicts, either just can’t quit (once again this depends on numerous variables such as age of onset of drug use, social support networks, childhood traumas etc) or do not consider it the right time to do so.

While complete abstinence should always be the ideal to be reached, the concept of harm reduction is that “if you’re still going to use, at least do it in the least harmful manner, for yourself and others”.

Malta already practices harm reduction such as through free syringe distribution and methadone maintenance programmes.

More could be done especially if more resources are allocated. The possibility of prescribed heroin for long-term addicts as practiced in the UK and Switzerland should also be explored (the substances added to street heroin are usually more harmful than the heroin itself).

Aside from the financial aspect, criminalizing drug addicts is also working against harm reduction in a psychological sense. If that same society that’s telling you that you’re a criminal and should be punished is the same one telling you on the need for clean syringes or that many diseases can be also transmitted from the spoon (on which the heroin is cooked) apart from the syringe, you’re less likely to take that advice.

Conclusion

I hope that in this brief position paper I have provided enough arguments to show we need to move towards a more humane policy towards drug use and addiction. Not only because it’s morally the right thing to do but also because it is more successful.

We should not fool ourselves that the day will come when we win the war on drugs. Drugs are here to stay. But if we do move away from a more populist policy that may provide a feel good factor by temporarily removing people from the streets to behind bars but has so miserably failed, towards one that an abundant amount of research shows to actually reduce drug addiction and the problems they create we can make a significant step forward in tackling this serious and escalating problem.

26 July 2013

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (29) Drugs: decriminalisation

Recreational cannabis use could be legal after the votes

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 3 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Personal use of drugs should be decriminalised. The victims of drug addiction and dependency are to be considered as persons in need of help and not as criminals. At the same time, decriminalisation also ensures that recreational drug users, including those who cultivate soft drugs for personal use, are not criminalised for their lifestyle.

The decriminalisation of the use of drugs means that whoever is caught with an amount of drugs for personal use should not be considered to be a criminal, and a victim of drug addiction and dependency should be considered as a person in need of help and not as a person that has to be punished. This means that the victims of drugs need professional help and not punishment. One must stress that persons that are today sent to jail because of drugs for personal use, can easily end up as compulsive heavy drug users or be introduced to circles of callous criminal rings when they mix with convicts that either make use of or actually traffic drugs in prison.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 3 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

L-użu personali tad-drogi għandu jigi dekriminalizzat. Vittmi tad-droga għandhom jitqiesu bħala nies li jeħtieġu għajnuna, u mhux bħala kriminali. Fl-istess ħin, dekriminalizzazzjoni tiżgura wkoll li dawk li jużaw id-drogi ghal skop rikreattiv, inkluż dawk li jikkultivaw id-drogi ħfief għall-użu personali, ma jigux kriminalizzati minħabba l-mod ta’ għixien tagħhom.

Li l-użu tad-drogi jkun dekriminalizzat ifisser li min jinqabad bid-droga għall-uzu personali ma jkunx ikkunsidrat bħala kriminali, u li min ikun vittma tad-droga, ikun ikkunsidrat bħala persuna li għandha bzonn l-għajnuna u mhux bħala persuna li teħtieġ tkun ikkastigata. Dan ifisser li l-vittmi tad-droga jeħtieġu għajnuna professjonali, u mhux kastig. Għandu jkun enfasizzat li persuni li illum qed jintbagħtu l-ħabs minħabba l-użu personali ta’drogi, jistgħu faċilment jispiċċaw jieħdu drogi aktar qawwija jew jidħlu fi ċrieki kriminali meta jitħalltu ma’ nies li jieħdu jew imexxu id-drogi fil-ħabs stess.