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Brazil's Bolsonaro enacts tough drug policy changes

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has enacted a drug policy law designed to toughen penalties for traffickers and require users to undergo rehabilitation at private or religious centres.

The law was approved by the Senate in May and appeared Thursday in official records.

The new rules raise the minimum penalty for traffickers who lead criminal organizations from five to eight years. In addition, they reinforce the role of therapeutic communities.

Specialists have argued that the legislation moves Brazil in the opposite direction of many countries which try to approach addiction as a health issue.

Users in the country previously had to agree to hospitalization, but the law now allows involuntary rehabilitation upon the recommendation of a relative or a public health official.

Bolsonaro is a fervent opponent of drug liberalization.

The Associated Press