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Addiction rates in Portugal halved since drug use decriminalized 11 years ago


GivenToFly

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http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/2012/07/18/portugal-decriminalized-all-drugs-eleven-years-ago-and-the-results-are-staggering/

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.

[my emphasis]

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Guest Len B'stard

you criminalise things, you make em cool, these drugs were around before they were illegal and use of them didn't fuckin like, permeate every strata of society just cuz they was fuckin' legal. Make em illegal though and not only does it make people curious about the shit it also make it cool.

Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

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Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

Leonard, Leonard! I don't think the geezer out of Fight Club would approve! :rolleyes:

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Guest Len B'stard

Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

Leonard, Leonard! I don't think the geezer out of Fight Club would approve! :rolleyes:

I'm taking the piss, therein lies the difference :lol: Also, i'm watching In Sickness and in Health, thats where "thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff" came from. It was meant to come off like an Alf Garnett rant :lol:

Edited by sugaraylen
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you criminalise things, you make em cool, these drugs were around before they were illegal and use of them didn't fuckin like, permeate every strata of society just cuz they was fuckin' legal. Make em illegal though and not only does it make people curious about the shit it also make it cool.

Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

Well, as per the article they are still illegal. Just that if you are caught using them, you still go to court, only it's not a criminal court. The article is a little unclear though. It says that possession and use of drugs is treated as a public health service rather than a criminal issue. Further action is decided after review by experts. I wonder what this further action can consist of.

Anyways, I notice that cigarettes are legal and plenty of people smoke. Conversely, cocaine is illegal and I don't notice a lot of crack addicts out there. What does that tell you?

I've never been curious about cocaine. I'm not stupid. Same reason I never started smoking. Fact is though, when you make something legal a lot of people are going to think it's safe. Addiction rates may be down in Portugal, and I'm sure what they have done is worth looking at. But drugs are hardly legal over there, and probably aren't that easy to obtain for the average person.

Edited by KBear
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I've never been curious about cocaine. I'm not stupid. Same reason I never started smoking.

Cocaine is the most amazing drug I ever tried it makes you feel like a million bucks...that is until you don't have anymore.....I can understand why people get so addicted to it but lucky for me I could not afford enough of it get addicted...

That being said I think it is pretty obvious criminalization of drugs has been a miserable failure...While I am conflicted about hard drugs due to their destructive nature I think Ganja should absolutely be legalized IMHO......

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I've never been curious about cocaine. I'm not stupid. Same reason I never started smoking.

Cocaine is the most amazing drug I ever tried it makes you feel like a million bucks...that is until you don't have anymore.....I can understand why people get so addicted to it but lucky for me I could not afford enough of it get addicted...

That being said I think it is pretty obvious criminalization of drugs has been a miserable failure...While I am conflicted about hard drugs due to their destructive nature I think Ganja should absolutely be legalized IMHO......

Fuck yea it is, and fuck yea it does.

I don't think jail time is right for drug users, I think mandatory treatment is right, stop demonizing pot, it's ridiculous, not to mention our economy would boom from the snack industry exploding. Pizza delivery would expand 3 fold.

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you criminalise things, you make em cool, these drugs were around before they were illegal and use of them didn't fuckin like, permeate every strata of society just cuz they was fuckin' legal. Make em illegal though and not only does it make people curious about the shit it also make it cool.

Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

Well, as per the article they are still illegal. Just that if you are caught using them, you still go to court, only it's not a criminal court. The article is a little unclear though. It says that possession and use of drugs is treated as a public health service rather than a criminal issue. Further action is decided after review by experts. I wonder what this further action can consist of.

Essentially, instead of sending you to jail they send you to rehab.

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you criminalise things, you make em cool, these drugs were around before they were illegal and use of them didn't fuckin like, permeate every strata of society just cuz they was fuckin' legal. Make em illegal though and not only does it make people curious about the shit it also make it cool.

Thats why you got a better class of addicts in them days, none of your riff raff, it'd be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the ol' morphine :lol: If i'm not mistaken weren't the original Sherlock Holmes a morphine addict? (yes, i'm aware he was a fictional character :lol:)

Well, as per the article they are still illegal. Just that if you are caught using them, you still go to court, only it's not a criminal court. The article is a little unclear though. It says that possession and use of drugs is treated as a public health service rather than a criminal issue. Further action is decided after review by experts. I wonder what this further action can consist of.

Essentially, instead of sending you to jail they send you to rehab.

Where you get to share a room with Steven Adler :nervous:

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Been there done that. It almost got me laid once, but in the end it brought severe depression and paranoia. I am still trying to heal from the shrooms I took awhile ago.

No offence Nate, and I applaud you for leaving em alone cos it's really the best thing you could do, but I love the way you come across as some world weary, burned out old Woodstock veteran. :lol: To listen to you you'd think you've just come out the other end of a 20 year smack habit, not a few hits of acid, some shrooms and the occasional joint over the space of a few months. :lol: Good luck though buddy, keep up the good work. :D

Edited by Dazey
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