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Parliament Speaker says Adoption of New Drug Policy May Be Suspended

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 15
Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze stated the adoption of already initiated new drug policy may be suspended, adding the discussions over the issue will continue.

Kobakhidze’s comment followed the statement of the Georgian Orthodox Church, which believes the drug policy should remain strict but has to be more care-oriented, which means treatment of those addicted to drugs.

The speaker noted that participation of all parties, particularly the Patriarchate, is important in the processes related to the drug policy.

“The relevant draft law has been initiated in the Parliament of Georgia…We will listen to all parties, also to the Patriarchate and a final decision will be made on the basis of a broader involvement," Kobakhidze said.

He added the aim of all parties involved in the process is to reduce the use of drugs in Georgia.

Several days ago the Patriarchate stated that drug consumption is a “big sin” adding the initiated draft on drugs, which envisages making drug policy more liberal, will boost drug consumption in the country and will promote drug-addiction.

“The Church has always supported harsh measures against drugs because it is a crime against the nation and the state must stand against it with the whole strictness that has to be reflected in additional regulations,” the statement reads.

The patriarchate believes the state agencies and initiators of the draft do not realize the negative tendencies that will follow the adoption of the law.

The statement went on that special rehabilitation centers for drug-addicts should be arranged in the country, where such people will be treated.

The clerics also believe that special programs should be launched which will provide drug-addicts with jobs.

“We believe the drug policy should be further tightened in order to protect our children and families,” the patriarchate stated.

The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) oppose the position of the clergymen, saying people should not be imprisoned for personal consumptions of drugs.

They support people’s decision to consume drugs or not.

The NGOs claim the drug policy should be transferred from a punitive to a caring one, which implies the creation of special services for drug addicts for their rehabilitation and resocialization.

Both sides – clerics and NGOs – claim to launch large-scale protest rallies if the government does not meet their demands.