Article published 6/2 on the OBID (Observatório Brasileiro de Informações sobre Drogas) site at: http://obid.senad.gov.br/OBID/Portal/index.jsp?iIdPessoaJuridica=1
National Antidrugs Council institutes Task Force to monitor the religious use of ayahuasca
“On Tuesday, May 30, in the east room of the Planalto Palace in Brasilia was held the Installation Cerimony of the Multidisciplinary Task Force for the investigation and monitoring of the religious use of ayahuasca. The institution of the group was ordained by Resolution No. 5 of the National Antidrugs Council (CONAD), dated November 4th, 2004.
CONAD is led by the Chief Minister of the Cabinet of Institutional Security, and is the agency responsible for establishing general policies to be followed by the subgroups of the National Antidrugs Systems (SISNAD) in their respective areas of action.
The ceremony was presided over by Jorge Armando Felix, Chief Minister of the Cabinet of Institutional Security, and included the participation of the National Antidrugs Secretary, Paulo Roberto Yog de Miranda Uchoa, who leads the executive secretariat of CONAD. Also participating were members of CONAD and of its Chamber of Technical-Scientific Assessment, in addition to the elected representatives of the Task Force.
The Multidisciplinary Work Force is composed of six representatives of the academic community nominated by CONAD: Eroy Aparecida da Silva – Psychology, Ester Kosovski – Law, Dartiu Xavier da Silveira Filho – Psychiatry, Isac Germano Karniol – Pharmacology and Biochemistry, Roberta Salazar Uchoa – Sociology, Edward John Baptista das Neves MacRae – Anthropology; and of six representatives of religious groups that use ayahuasca, elected during the “Ayahuasca Seminar,” held this year in Rio Branco – Acre state: Jair Araújo Facundes, Cosmo Lima de Souza, Alex Polari de Alverga, Edson Lodi Campos Soares, Wilson Roberto Gonzaga da Costa, Luis Antonio Orlando Pereira.
The installation of the Task Force is of extreme importance to guarantee the constitutional right to free exercise of religion and of individual choice in the religious use of ayahuasca. But such a decision should be duly based on the widest range of information provided by professionals in the various areas of knowledge, by public agencies and by the common experiences collected in the diverse segments of civil society.
The Multidisciplinary Task Force with structure its plan of action and submit it to CONAD within 180 days, with the final goal of elaborating a document that articulates the principles and basis of the religious use of ayahuasca and ways to prevent its improper use.
(Translated to English by Matthew Meyer)