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The Italian Illegal Drugs Scene: Forms of Use and Politics

The Italy illegal drug scene: drug use and policy
[Journal article]

Abstract

'Illegal drug use has only become a public problem in Italy for a few decades. It was not until the 1990s that three types of users appeared on the drug scene: heroin users (mostly male adults), users of ecstasy ... more

'Illegal drug use has only become a public problem in Italy for a few decades. It was not until the 1990s that three types of users appeared on the drug scene: heroin users (predominantly male adults), users of ecstasy (predominantly younger people of both sexes) and cocaine users (predominantly socially well-integrated young adults). However, cannabis is the most commonly used drug among these groups as well. At the legislative level, one observes a movement of balancing between a social or health policy and a prohitionist position, with the latter gaining the upper hand in the last decade. The center-left government had tried, through the initiative of some of its members, to formulate a less punitive policy, which, however, was difficult to translate into significant changes in current drug policy through a coalition of different political camps. ' (Author's presentation) ... less


'In Italy illegal drugs' consumption has become an issue on the public arena since the end of 1960. After a long period of time dominated by debates and discussions on heroin addicts, it is from the nineties on that four major consumer types appear on the drug scene. They consume, respectively, hero ... more

'In Italy illegal drugs' consumption has become an issue on the public arena since the end of 1960. After a long period of time dominated by debates and discussions on heroin addicts, it is from the nineties on that four major consumer types appear on the drug scene. They consume, respectively, heroin (mainly adult males), ecstasy (young boys and girls), cocaine (socially integrated young adults), and marijuana (without a specific reference population). As to legislation and policies, in these four decades, one notices a 'to and fro' switch between a socio-health orientation and a quasi-prohibitionist standpoint, the latter becoming more dominant in the last decade. Many debates took place between, on one side, scientists, and experts, and, on the other side, politicians. Despite of the arguments adopted by the experts, the laws of 1990 and 2005 clearly show that the use of the topic of drug is the winning path to gain political consensus in favor of the prohibitionist point of view. It is not surprising that the center-left government (2006-2008) has not realized the declared intention to implement policies willing to consider the complexity of this difficult issue. ' (author's abstract) ... less

Thesaurus keywords
Drug policy; young adult; Legislation; Drug scene; Health policy; Italy; Consumption; Drug; Social policy

classification
social problems
Health policy

method
application-oriented; descriptive study

Language document
German

Year of publication
2009

Page reference
Pp. 119-137

Magazine title
Social Problems, 20 (2009) 1/2

status
Release version; appraised (peer reviewed)

License
Deposit License - No Redistribution, No Processing