ERG & Stay Clean react to Minister Sacramento’s ‘Operation Patch Up’


In a statement today, ERG and Stay Clean, who have spearheaded the ‘Connected Health’ Campaign to reform drugs laws and policies, note Minister Sacramento’s recent press release announcing an internal Government ‘get together’ by public service Departments to ‘address the negative consequences that drug abuse exacts upon our community’.

‘The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has, since the publication of its World Drug Report in 2013, been saying that the vast majority of global drug use is non problematic,’ the organisations respond.
‘Just as most people who drink alcohol are not alcoholics, the vast majority of people who use presently illicit substances are not addicts or problem users. However, whatever the reason for a person’s drug use, they should be protected not punished. It is the smaller number of problematic drug users that clearly needs the protection, compassion and professionalism of the caring agencies, and Government should be focusing on a positive, not a negative narrative to what is a social problem that has gone unattended for too long.
‘Ms Sacramento’s guiding press statement to the event is remarkable for its unashamed attempt to skew and predispose the event’s narrative towards an orthodox, long-failed negative approach to the problem of drug use. From the start, she is clearly already prejudicing the discussion instead of guiding professionals towards a scientific and objective picture of the situation.
‘We call on all participating Government agency professionals to remain alert and open to the full scientific evidence, and question the partial, narrow constraints of this particular Minister’s purview.
‘Minister Sacramento, therefore, totally fails in securing the confidence of those hoping for Government to seriously lift the lid off this long-endured social issue in a bid to not just offer the patch-up jobs Ms Sacramento is touting, but to effectively and sincerely improve the laws and policies which have so patently failed us in Gibraltar.
‘What continued, skewed messages such as Minister Sacramento’s do is to prejudice rational analysis and offer little to actually protect people from exploitation and harm.
‘It is as clear as clear can be that drugs policy and reform in Gibraltar should come jointly under the Ministry for Public Health and the Ministry for Health, Care and Justice because it makes sense that it is only when medical resources and professional expertise are brought to significantly bear directly by the adequate portfolios that Gibraltar will make any headway. Minister Sacramento brings neither skill nor knowledge to the table. But worst of all, she brings little credibility.’