Bulgarian Expert Slams Harsh Bill for Small Drug Possession
A prominent Bulgarian analyst has slammed a bill that he says would increase penalties for small scale drug possession and cause a mass incarceration crisis in the country.
"The biggest problem with the new bill is that it imposes mandatory imprisonment for cases of possession of any amount of any illegal drug – making no distinction between people who use (or are dependent on) drugs, and those who are selling or producing drugs for profit, " Tihomir Bezlov of the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia wrote in an article for 24 Hours daily.
Bezlov argues that as a result, the bill will significantly increase the pressure on an already overcrowded Bulgarian court and prison system, and undermine the provision of health and social services to people who use drugs.
"The imprisonment of these people can be compared with inquisition. Bulgarian prisons offer no treatment for people who are sick and there their physical and mental condition only further deteriorates."
The bill was approved by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers earlier this month and is now being considered by the Parliament.