Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs 11 Years Ago & The Results

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PostWed Jul 18, 2012 6:11 pm » by Switchtrip


A bit of news.

Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs 11 Years Ago & The Results Are Staggering

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Samuel Blackstone| Jul. 17, 2012



On July 1st, 2001, Portugal decriminalized every imaginable drug, from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin. Some thought Lisbon would become a drug tourist haven, others predicted usage rates among youths to surge. Eleven years later, it turns out they were both wrong.

Over a decade has passed since Portugal changed its philosophy from labeling drug users as criminals to labeling them as people affected by a disease. This time lapse has allowed statistics to develop and in time, has made Portugal an example to follow.

First, some clarification.

Portugal’s move to decriminalize does not mean people can carry around, use, and sell drugs free from police interference. That would be legalization. Rather, all drugs are “decriminalized,” meaning drug possession, distribution, and use is still illegal. While distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense, possession and use is moved out of criminal courts and into a special court where each offender’s unique situation is judged by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Treatment and further action 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.), reports Fox News.

The resulting effect: a drastic reduction in addicts, with Portuguese officials and reports highlighting that this number, at 100,000 before the new policy was enacted, has been halved in the following ten years. Portugal’s drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states, according to the same report.

One more outcome: a lot less sick people. Drug related diseases including STDs and overdoses have been reduced even more than usage rates, which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts.

While this policy is by no means news, the statistics and figures, which take years to develop and subsequently depict the effects of the change, seem to be worth noting. In a country like America, which may take the philosophy of criminalization a bit far (more than half of America’s federal inmates are in prison on drug convictions), other alternatives must, and to a small degree, are being discussed.

For policymakers or people simply interested in this topic, cases like Portugal are a great place to start.




Source, & More Info: http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/2012/0 ... taggering/
"There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning"

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PostWed Jul 18, 2012 6:27 pm » by Noentry


Switchtrip great bit of info. :cheers:

Well done Portugal :clapper:
Now we need some of this in the UK.
In the UK the war on drugs has been a failure, we need a fresh approach and Portugal is an excellent example , on how to deal with the problem of chemical addiction.
"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
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PostWed Jul 18, 2012 7:24 pm » by monica44


You are right on the money Noentry.
But until our government can find a way of making money from it then nothing will change.....
unfortunately.... :bang;
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PostWed Jul 18, 2012 7:37 pm » by Middleman


The saddest thing about this story is that we've known for many years that you don't need to go the full decriminalization route to gain the public health benefits, but it's still politically impossible in many countries.

Politicians think it's better for junkies to die than for them to risk being branded "soft on drugs".

In Australia, drugs are still illegal, the penalties are mostly still criminal, but we have extremely low rates of overdose or HIV and hepatitis infection because of sensible harm minimization policies. These include needle exchange programs and a guarantee that if you call the ambulance to save someone from OD'ing, they just come and do their job, and leave the cops out of it.

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PostThu Jul 19, 2012 1:10 am » by Switchtrip


Gotta Love The Beckley Foundation from where the story came from http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/










:)
"There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning"



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