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versão impressa ISSN 0874-2049


CRUZ, Olga Souza  e  MACHADO, Carla. Intervention in the drugs phenomenon: Some reflections and contributions to the definition of good practices. Psicologia [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.1, pp.13-31. ISSN 0874-2049.

The legislative and policy guidelines and, consequently, the forms of intervention on the phenomenon of illicit drug use have been presided over by two distinct ideologies: prohibitionism and anti‑prohibitionism. Over time, and in practically the entire western world, prohibitionism has prevailed, arguing the need to criminalize and prosecute drug‑related practices, in order to regulate them in the direction of the social norm. In this respect, most preventive actions have been searching for the abstinence ideal and the intervention mostly addresses users of illicit drugs with ‘problematic’ patterns of drug use. However, more and more authors argue the failure of the prohibitionist measures, especially because of the problems (e.g., economic, legal, social, sanitary) they raises, because they have not been successful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of drug use and because it has been difficult to reach subjects whose drug use experiences do not conform to these problematic patterns. According to this anti-­prohibitionist logic there are arguments, inter alia, concerning the importance of promoting alternative forms of social control over the drugs rather than formal control (e.g., informal social control, self­control by drug users) and value has been placed on the benefits of risk reduction and harm minimization strategies. Based on this anti‑prohibitionist orientation, the purpose of this article is to reflect upon what are currently considered to be best practices of intervention on the phenomenon of illicit drug use. Among others, we argue the importance of acting through peers, stimulating the involvement of drug users in the intervention efforts, and accomplishing a work that is horizontal, dynamic and held in natural context.

Palavras-chave : illicit drugs; intervention; prohibitionism; anti‑prohibitionism.

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