Portugals radical drugs policy is working. Why hasnt the world copied it?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: December 11th, 2017
When the drugs came, they hit all at once. It was the 80s, and by the time one in 10 people had slipped into the depths of heroin use - bankers, university students, carpenters, socialites, miners - Portugal was in a state of panic. In 2001 ... Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. Rather than being arrested, those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker about treatment, harm reduction, and the support services that were available to them. The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates. HIV infection plummeted from an all-time high in 2000 of 104.2 new cases per million to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. Portugals remarkable recovery ... could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs. Portugals policy rests on three pillars: one, that theres no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs; two, that an individuals unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals frayed relationships with loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves; and three, that the eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal. In spite of Portugals tangible results, other countries have been reluctant to follow.