Latvia

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Latvia: 90% “legal drug” outlets concentrated in Riga and Riga Region

Approximately 90 percent of all outlets for “legal drugs” in Latvia are located in Riga or in the vicinity of Riga; overall there are 34 such outlets in Riga at the moment, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (Reform Party) told the government yesterday, cites LETA.

The number of “legal drug” outlets in Riga has decreased by eleven from 2013. Elsewhere in Latvia, there are comparatively few such places – in Zemgale Region there is one, in Jelgava, and in Latgale Region also one, in Daugavpils. Both are monitored by the police, said Kozlovskis.

Kozlovskis said that the police had seized a large amount of psychoactive substances for laboratory tests. Such tests, however, are quite costly and cost the State police approximately EUR 40 each.

The minister said that the problem could be solved by amending the laws and regulations that deal with penalties for selling banned psychoactive substances. At the same time, eliminating the problem completely will be impossible as long as there is demand for such products, he added.

24-hour-a-day police patrols would require about 320 police officers in Riga Region alone. This is not a feasible option, therefore the problem should be fought at the legislative level, said Kozlovskis.

He believes that making sale of banned substances a criminal offense would be an effective measure, as currently most psychoactive substances confiscated by the police are those that have been banned by the authorities but are nevertheless sold at the “legal drug” outlets.

Another option is making the persons who certify such substances to carry the burden of proof, said Kozlovskis.

Source: Baltic Course

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