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Old July 5th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #1
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Here's a big "well, duh" moment:



Quote:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...d931c6f679.5e1



Portugal drug law show results ten years on, experts say (AFP) 4 days ago



LISBON Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.



"There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal," said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.



The number of addicts considered "problematic" -- those who repeatedly use "hard" drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.



Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.



"This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies."



Portugal's holistic approach had also led to a "spectacular" reduction in the number of infections among intravenous users and a significant drop in drug-related crimes, he added.



A law that became active on July 1, 2001 did not legalise drug use, but forced users caught with banned substances to appear in front of special addiction panels rather than in a criminal court.



The panels composed of psychologists, judges and social workers recommended action based on the specifics of each case.



Since then, government panels have recommended a response based largely on whether the individual is an occasional drug user or an addict.



Of the nearly 40,000 people currently being treated, "the vast majority of problematic users are today supported by a system that does not treat them as delinquents but as sick people," Goulao said.



In a report published last week, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said Portugal had dealt with this issue "in a pragmatic and innovative way."



Drug use statistics in Portugal are generally "below the European average and much lower than its only European neighbour, Spain," the report also said.



"The changes that were made in Portugal provide an interesting before-and-after study on the possible effects of decriminalisation," EMCDDA said.




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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #2
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Duh, indeed.



Drug criminalization always has been "we're the good guys, and those guys are the bad guys."



Drug criminalization is just a form of bigotry.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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I wonder what the result would be in this country? I bet this is a case of "your results may differ".
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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fxashun View Post
I wonder what the result would be in this country? I bet this is a case of "your results may differ".
We already have a good example in the repeal of prohibition. Then as now we didn't wise up quickly enough, and let prohibition continue long enough to create large criminal enterprises. After decriminalization those organizations will find something new to do to keep the money flowing.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxashun' timestamp='1310098363' post='340942
I wonder what the result would be in this country? I bet this is a case of "your results may differ".
We already have a good example in the repeal of prohibition. Then as now we didn't wise up quickly enough, and let prohibition continue long enough to create large criminal enterprises. After decriminalization those organizations will find something new to do to keep the money flowing.
That's not what I was referring. I'm curious what decriminalizing drugs would do to the already marginalized members of our society. It's funny that even Amsterdam is rethinking their policies and considering going more strict. Portugal is unique.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fxashun View Post
I'm curious what decriminalizing drugs would do to the already marginalized members of our society. It's funny that even Amsterdam is rethinking their policies and considering going more strict. Portugal is unique.
We know that criminalization does not reduce the rate of usage, but merely creates a profit motive and creates criminals of people who wouldn't otherwise be criminals. We know from a number of examples that treatment programs have numerous benefits, including the reduction of HIV transmission in IV drug users.



Decriminalization and medicalization is a no-brainer. Reduce the crime, give addicts needed treatment, stop destabilizing our neighbors to the south and overseas, stop wasting money and lives on futile enforcement efforts and prisons.



Even the people who have led the "war on drugs" know that decriminalization and treatment is the only viable strategy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...canada-13624303

http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/Report
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