Alain Origer from the Ministry of Health, René Meneghetti from the Addiction Association, and prosecutor Georges Oswald discussed Luxembourg's drug policy on RTL Radio on Saturday afternoon.

Georges Oswald, prosecutor of the Luxembourg City District, stated that "merely keeping the streets clean" cannot be the aspiration of the public prosecutor's office and the police.

Instead of just taking care of the more apparent part of the issue, the public prosecutor's office should carry out in-depth investigations, Oswald stressed. In the same vein, the prosecutor also thinks that it is wrong to equate the number of fines issued to an effective fight against drug-related crime. Some investigations go on for several years, but have a "major impact", Oswald pointed out.

Oswald also made a point of debunking the popular narrative that the police do the field work just for the public prosecutor's office to then release the perpetrators, stating that the statistics prove otherwise. According to the prosecutor, one of the main problems is that new dealers take over the business of those that get arrested very quickly. The reason for this, Oswald explained, is that the demand is high enough and people have enough money to keep buying drugs.

RTL

© René Pfeiffer (RTL)

As for the dealers themselves, their profiles vary widely. Among them are people from various different backgrounds, as well as both residents and non-residents. At the capital's railway station in particular, it seems to be a common occurrence that the dealers merely come to Luxembourg to sell throughout the day and cross the border again in the evening. In contrast to what law enforcement authorities observed a few years ago, the drug market seems to be less dominated by large criminal organisations, with most dealers nowadays acting "in relative autonomy".

Regarding Luxembourg City Mayor Lydie Polfer's press conference following the dog biting incident, Oswald stated that he found the Mayor's statements "very problematic", criticising that Polfer mixed up topics "that have nothing to do with each other".

All three guests stressed that problematic drug use has changed over the past years, in particular because cocaine overtook heroin in availability on the market. This had an impact on the behaviour of the drug users. Alain Origer from the Ministry of Health stressed that, proportionally, the number of high-risk users has actually declined over the past years. When it comes to drug use in general, Luxembourg is below the European average. However, Origer explained that a slight increase in cannabis consumption has been observed among young people. According to René Meneghetti from the Addiction Association, young people in particular seem to struggle to find other ways to let off steam.

Origer stressed that the government has not taken any decision regarding the planned legalisation of cannabis yet. Over the past years, a task force worked "intensively" on the project and now it is up to the government to come up with a "balanced" solution, he explained. However, changes have to be made "in any case", but it is up to the politicians to decide how fast they will come. The project also raises "countless legal questions", Oswald added.

The guests agreed that the devil is in the details when it comes to this project, and they all eagerly await the practical implementation of the draft bill. Meneghetti argued that youth protection must also be considered and that additional efforts are required in the area of prevention to prevent a trivialisation of drug use.