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Portugal's drug decriminalization story

Did you know that Portugal decriminalized drugs 10 years ago? Not just marijuana, but all drugs. Nowadays, Portugal has lower usage rates and lower incidence of drug-related crime than any other EU nation or the US.

This week at Politico of all places there's an excellent excellent op-ed by Glenn Greenwald about Portugal's radical new policies toward drug usage. Here are a few snippets:

By any metric, Portugal’s drug-decriminalization scheme has been a resounding success. Drug usage in many categories has decreased in absolute terms, including for key demographic groups, like 15-to-19-year-olds. Where usage rates have increased, the increases have been modest — far less than in most other European Union nations, which continue to use a criminalization approach.

Portugal, whose drug problems were among the worst in Europe, now has the lowest usage rate for marijuana and one of the lowest for cocaine. Drug-related pathologies, including HIV transmission, hepatitis transmission and drug-related deaths, have declined significantly.

Here's another excellent op-ed about the addiction of the US drug-warriors. Let's end this silly war on US citizens. Prop 19 will be an important first step!

Comments

blissful_e said…
The Economist has been saying decriminalization is the way forward for a while now. It's great to see an actual case study where it's worked!
Leah Bennett said…
I read that article, too. Very interesting. I had no idea!

I think the key to their success is linking users to the medical "tribunal" or whatever they call it. What a perfect combination of giving people liberty along with medical rights. It shows that people given the opportunity and education will do what's best for them. Love it!

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