Personal Drug Use Decriminalized but Heroin Dealers Get Life Sentence

    The Greek Minister of Justice, Miltiadis Papaioannou, presented the new government bill concerning drug use.  It has been the main topic of conversation amongst the Council of Ministers on 6th September. The bill defines the decriminalization of drug use for everyone addicted to drugs.

    The main terms and conditions of the new bill are: the strictest punitive treatment of the drugs’ merchant dealers and the integration in drug independence programmes for prisoners. The bill is still under official consultation until it becomes a country law.

    “A drug user is a patient, not a criminal”, the Justice Minister underlined, presenting the outline of the new bill. Nevertheless, the penalty for merchant dealers remains strict and from now on they may get a life sentence. Furthermore, changes are projected to be done concerning the way the drug dependence is being diagnosed.  According to the terms of the new bill, expert reports will not be the only criterium, on which a court will be based on, in order to decide if a defendant is a drug user or not.

    In addition, the Justice Minister stated that methadone programmes will take place in jail in the nearest future. However, it is not certain yet the dose of the drug intended for personal use, in order the user to avoid any penalty. This crucial subject still depends on the decision of the court.

    Lastly, according to sources, deaths connected with drug abuse in Greece per year number 400 persons, while 40% of the prisoners get a penalty due to drug offenses.