10 years ago Portugal decriminalized every single known drug in an attempt to alter the crime rate and addiction rate in the country. Many analyzers doubted the controversial move and even bashed Portugal for being foolish. Ten years later, the results speak for themselves.
First of all it’s still illegal to distribute and traffic drugs, but possession and use is no longer a criminal offense. Each user is judged on an individual basis by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Method of treatment is decided in these courts, “where addicts and drug use is treated as a public health service rather than referring it to the justice system (like the U.S.)”
- A 50% nationwide reduction in addicts
- One of the lowest drug usage rates for a country in the entire EU
- More than 50% reduction in STD’s and overdoses (“which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts”)
This isn’t new by the way. Cannabis and other schedule substances in America have been decriminalized in The Netherlands for years, and major differences in addiction rate and crime can be observed, even after adjusting for population and other variables.
Enough is enough. Over 50% of the inmates in American prisons are there for non-violent drug use. Many times they were completely functioning, raising families, working a steady job, paying taxes, and ingesting their drug of choice reasonably and responsibly. That’s millions of people in prison who are able and willing to be content, non-violent, productive members of the society that demonizes them and destroys their family and themselves forever.
Sensibility and rationality is far more sensible and rational.
Sources and Resources:
Beckley Foundation- What Can We Learn from the Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?
Other Nations with Progressive and Effective Drug Policies: