On the 18th of September a new network in Brazil is being launched. The “Pense Livre (Think Free) Network - For Drug Policy that Works” is being launched at the Itaú Cultural Auditorium in Sao Paulo and will be broadcasted live on the internet from 7 to 9.30pm (11pm GMT-1.30am GMT). It will bring together more than 60 young leaders from across Brazilian society including business-people, journalists, doctors, activists, psychologists, lawyers, researchers and others.
The network believes that the current drug policies have failed and that drugs should be decriminalised with a focus on prevention and public health. This view has become more widespread in South America especially recently considering how ineffective ‘the war on drugs’ has been.
Recent research indicates that Brazil is the top consumer of crack cocaine and the second biggest consumer of cocaine only trailing behind the USA. This has spurred on many to demand a change to the drug policy in Brazil
As well as decriminalisation the Pense Livre Network wants cannabis to be regulated for medical use. Several countries including states in the USA have already moved towards regulating the cannabis market for medical use. Some medicines already use chemicals found in cannabis such as Sativex which is a spray for MS related spasticity.
There is a growing body of research which shows that harm reduction is a great way at preventing infections, helping people get the help they need and reducing overdoses. The Pense Livre Network wants to support that research in order to ‘develop informed and targeted programs that promote harm reduction and treatment’.
Ilona Szabó de Carvalho from the Igarape Institute and Livre's co-founder said that "[t]he proposals of the Pense Livre Network are the result of an ongoing process of learning, debate and consensus building among a group of people with distinctive professional trajectories and political points of view. Our positive agenda indicates that a wide cross-section of Brazilian society is willing to discuss how to improve how we deal with the drug issue”
The Pense Livre Network is also launch a blog which will serve as a place for debate on drug policy. The Network aims to publish relevant articles, research and promotion of public events through their web site.