Dr Benjamin Smith is reader of Latin American history in the History department, specialising in modern Mexican history. Here he investigates how on 5 January 1940, Mexico’s left-wing president, Lázaro Cárdenas, signed the new Federal Regulation of Drug Addiction into law.
The new legislation was truly revolutionary: it swept away the old punitive edicts on drugs offences, authorised doctors to prescribe narcotics to addicts, established out-patient clinics to help these addicts, and made broader pleas to treat addicts as ill rather than as criminals. Yet, despite being deemed a major success, within six months the legislation was overturned.
Read more on the BBC History website.
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