Belgium's drug laws 'still not clear'

26th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 March 2004, BRUSSELS - A newly approved Belgian drug use law does not work properly because the police and the country's social workers do not know how it should be applied, press reports said on Friday.

26 March 2004

BRUSSELS - A newly approved Belgian drug use law does not work properly because the police and the country's social workers do not know how it should be applied, press reports said on Friday.

The law was adopted last year. But according to the Flemish newspapers 'Het Niewsblad' and 'Het Volk', the Belgian state still needs to appoint a team of nationwide 'case managers' who will be called on to give expert advice on how the new rules should work in practice.

The case managers' role is crucial because they must decide whether a drug user should be prosecuted or made to attend a rehabilitation programme.

"While the case managers are not in place, the situation will remain blocked," said a social worker cited by the newspapers.

Belgium is generally considered to have some of Europe's more progressive drug use laws. Cannabis possession for personal use is no longer considered a criminal offence for example.

Meanwhile, Belgium's main public health institute on Friday issued a warning about potentially lethal batch of ecstasy tablets that are currently being sold in Belgium.

If swallowed the pills could cause convulsions, overheating or even coma, the institute warned.

The institute said the suspect pills are yellow and have a double heart logo stamped on them.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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