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Colombia City Hopes to Switch Some Addicted People From Cocaine to Marijuana

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Officials in Bogota, Colombia are hoping to convince people addicted to a smokable type of cocaine called basuco to use marijuana instead, according to ABC News.

Basuco can contain residue from solvents used to turn coca leaves into cocaine, such as kerosene. Dealers add substances such as ash and crushed bricks, to give it bulk. It is cheap, the article notes—for less than a dollar, a person can buy enough basuco for a powerful high.

At least 7,000 people in Bogota may take up to 15 or 20 hits of basuco daily. Officials are planning to try “controlled consumption centers” to combat the problem. People will be able to consume drugs in a safer environment, while they transition off use of the drug.

The first step is to reduce the dose. The next step would be to combine the drug with marijuana, and then to use marijuana alone.

“What you’re looking for is for the person to reach a point where they can stabilize the consumption and that the consumption doesn’t prevent them from being functional,” said Julián Quintero, from the Bogota-based non-profit organization Acción Técnica Social, which works on drug policy.

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