Alcohol more expensive, cannabis legal: psychotherapists want radical changes in drug policy

Germany’s psychotherapists are calling for alcohol to be made more expensive and cannabis legalized. Like all other legal intoxicants, both should only be sold in licensed shops, according to the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists in a statement published in Berlin on Thursday.

At the same time, the chamber advocates a minimum age of 18 for the purchase of all legal drugs. The levy on minors must be sanctioned more than before.

learning how to use drugs

“No drug policy can prevent drugs from being tried and used,” said Chamber President Dietrich Munz. “That’s why adults and young people should also learn to use drugs in such a way that they don’t endanger their health and the risk of abuse and dependency remains low,” says the psychotherapist from Stuttgart.

According to the chamber, there should be new hurdles for the millions of people who regularly drink beer, schnapps and wine. The psychotherapists are demanding higher alcohol taxes and a minimum price for alcohol.

When it comes to restricting all legal drugs to licensed shops, the chamber is considering “supply by specialist staff” trained in addiction prevention. The therapists complain that legal drugs are available almost everywhere around the clock, for example in supermarkets, petrol stations, via vending machines or the Internet. In the future, the specialist staff should provide information about the effects and check the age.

Alcohol more dangerous than cannabis

“Alcohol is significantly more dangerous than cannabis,” states the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists. Almost every fifth person in Germany drinks a lot of it at a risk. Alcohol can be deadly. Cannabis, on the other hand, is considered a moderately harmful drug.

The statement comes as the coalition prepares for a controlled cannabis release. In May, the Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert (SPD) announced the start of a thorough consultation process for this.

At the same time, the current inflation is already driving prices up, with several reports of rising beer prices in recent weeks. At the first Oktoberfest in Munich after the compulsory break caused by the corona, visitors will have to pay around 15 percent more for the beer this year for this reason alone.

Ad ban requested

The Chamber of Psychotherapists demands a ban on advertising for all legal drugs. In general, according to the psychotherapists, drug policy should focus on regulation and prevention – but also on “enlightened, competent and responsible use of drugs”. That is the best protection against abuse. The chamber, which represents around 55,000 psychotherapists, demands that many more professional offers should be made available to people. More early detection, treatment and rehabilitation of addictions should be offered.

“The goal remains the same as that of previous drug policies: avoiding drug abuse and addiction,” say the therapists. Cannabis is not harmless and in particular carries the risk of psychosis. Despite the ban, cannabis use has been increasing for decades. The previous policy aimed at restricting the use of cannabis had failed. The psychotherapists suggest that the content of the psychoactive substance THC should be limited to a maximum of 15 percent.

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