From Iceland — Doctors And National Commissioner Of Police Oppose Decriminalisation Of Drug Consumption

Doctors And National Commissioner Of Police Oppose Decriminalisation Of Drug Consumption

Published April 30, 2021

Photo by
Wikimedia Commons

The National Commissioner of Police and the Icelandic Medical Association oppose a bill by the Minister of Health on the decriminalization of drug consumption, RÚV reports.

According to the bill, which has majority public support, possession of narcotics and drugs in limited quantities will not be punishable.

The National Commissioner of Police says they cannot support the bill in its current form because it offers different interpretations that may make it more difficult for the police to enforce the law.

The Icelandic Medical Association believes that the way proposed in the bill will increase the “drug problems of Icelandic young people from what it is now”. 

The Red Cross celebrates the change.

Need lighter punishment

The National Commissioner of Police agrees with the idea that it is urgent to turn away from harsh punishments for drug use. Consideration could be given in the legislation to enabling the police to offer other remedies than fines when minor offenses of this kind are dealt with.

The Medical Association points out that no attempt is being made to define what the consumption dose is and there is a risk that the proposed legislative changes will reduce the tools that the police have in the fight against the illegal sale of drugs.

The Medical Association says that this was pointed out when the bill was placed in the government’s consultation portal. “If consumption doses are legalized, it will probably encourage young people to try these illegal substances with unforeseen consequences other than the fact that the number of addicts will increase.”

This particular opinion is a curious one, considering empirical data shows that in countries where decriminalisation was enacted, drug use either stayed the same or actually decreased.

The Association of Prisoners, and other supporters of improved prison issues, welcome the bill and declares its unequivocal support for it, saying that it is a step in the right direction and can increase the ability of people with substance abuse problems to cope and keep it down.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.

Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!