In order to provide the reader with a better understanding of the selected terms, we have created a list of definitions that intend to shatter prejudice and avoid the interchangeable use of terms that are not synonyms. In addition, this guide pretends to help the reader to identify him/herself within the wide spectrum of positions that are discussed and defended in the public sphere –from supporters of prohibition to advocates of liberalisation, through to those who propose, in turn, the legal regulation of drugs.
As in most -serious- debates regarding public policy, the debate on drugs is a diverse, complex, and intellectual one. It is not because “us” reformers advocate for the “legalization of marihuana” or the “decriminalization of cocaine use” that we cease to be professionals, dedicated to the study of public policies, programmes, and governmental feats. In the same sense, and despite the growing “normalisation” of a discussion that was once taboo, the debate on drugs is neither unscientific, nor one of personal perceptions or singular and monolithic approaches. On the contrary, the drug policy debate is one in which a series of opinions and nuances are expressed and, although, sometimes complementary, such approaches will often remain different.
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