NGOs stand for decriminalization of Part 1 of the Article 309 of the Criminal Code, which provides for criminal prosecution for storage of small amounts of illicit drugs without intent to sell them , the Freedom March NGO representative Taras Ratushny and the International HIV / AIDS Alliance in Ukraine representative Pavlo Skala told a press conference, ForUm correspondent reports.

According to Ratushny, 98% of drug-related criminal cases are initiated under this very article of the Criminal Code. "In practice, this leads to the fact that the Interior Ministry improves its stats on combating drug trafficking. In fact they enjail drug addicts, not drug dealers," he said.

Ratushny believes that those, who store small doses of drugs without intent to sell them, should be punished not with criminal penalties, but administrative fines.

In addition, Ratushny believes that this measure will relieve the Interior Ministry of the large number of investigations and reduce the number of drug addicts who are in prison. This measure will reduce corruption in the Interior Ministry, especially in the anti-trafficking departments.

"Today, only one out of ten criminal cases instituted under Part 1 of the Art. 309 of the CCU comes to court. "In nine cases, the law enforcement officers amicably agree with offenders and the sums of bribes range from one to five thousand dollars," Ratushny said.

Meanwhile, Pavlo Skala believes that to decriminalize this type of crime, MPs should not change the relevant provision of the Criminal Code, but make changes to the Healthcare Ministry decree classifying drugs.
The state representative, advisor to the chairman of the State Service of Ukraine on Drugs Control Volodymyr Yashchenko said that the Service agrees that the law does not help reduce drug trafficking.

The State Service has developed the national drug strategy, which is now being coordinated with the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Healthcare Ministry. At the same time Yashchenko cannot say when this strategy will be adopted, since the reconciliation process is rather long.

According to Yashchenko, decriminalization of any type of drug-related crime is not a single way out.

"If we release drug addicts from prison, they will go out and start using drugs again. We need prevent this also," the state official summed up.

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