Friday, January 21

Intoxication and homelessness are connected. We can not overlook that.

  • Josefine Køltzow Øvrebø (13)

    Board member, Oslo Unge Venstre

I think it’s time for it to be the turn of ordinary drug addicts, writes Josefine Køltzow Øvrebø (13), board member of Oslo Unge Venstre.

The connection between intoxication and homelessness is too obvious to overlook.

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The new government is not good news for drug addicts. Unfortunately, when drug addicts fall out of society and end up homeless, the government does not offer a helping hand. On the contrary.

Both the Labor Party and the Center Party voted no to the crucial part of the drug reform: help, not punishment. The parties do not want to decriminalize drug use. Then it was not the turn of ordinary drug addicts anyway.

There is a clear connection between homelessness and drug addiction. We should take this more seriously. In Norway we have over 3000 homeless. These we must help.

Can not wait

I think the key to reducing the number of people living on the streets is a drug reform. Putting drug addicts behind bars does not help much. Punishment only hurts worse.

Those who need help with substance abuse and addiction can not wait another four years for a drug reform. Drug reform must happen faster.

It’s time for us to start treating drug addiction for what it is – a disease, and not a criminal act.

The context

For Oslo to reduce the number of homeless, a drug reform is essential. The connection between intoxication and homelessness is too obvious to overlook. It is not logical to punish those who need help the most.

In 2020, 324 died people of overdose. According to FHI, this is the highest number of overdoses in Norway in 20 years. Norway is also at the top of Europe when it comes to overdose deaths.

We have many homeless people we need to help. I think it’s time for the turn of ordinary drug addicts. We have the knowledge and see the connections. When will the government wake up?

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