I came across this article and it gave me hope. You know I love data -- and finally, a country can provide DATA that shows the decriminalization of drug use works. The War on Drugs has long become the war on people who get addicted to drugs, rather than what it should be, which is the war on people who manufacture and traffic drugs. Portugal demonstrates that by decriminalizing small possession and intoxication and investing in prevention and treatment, a difference can be made. And not just any difference. A huge difference! Please note, Portugal started this effort in 1998. NINETEEN-NINETY-EIGHT!!! This means they are 15 years ahead of us. But, as they say, it's never too late to get started when it comes to making a difference. Here are the take home points. Decriminalizing addiction and investing in prevention and treatment is a great idea because:
1. It saves lives: Before the law, more than half of Portugal's HIV-infected residents were drug addicts. Each year brought 3,000 new diagnoses of HIV among people with addiction. Today, individuals with addiction make up only 20 percent of HIV-infected patients.
2. It reduces drug use: Levels of drug consumption in Portugal are now among the lowest in the European Union.
3. It saves money: The percentage of drug-related offenders in Portuguese prisons decreased as well -- from 44 percent in 1999 to under 21 percent in 2012. We all know prison is expensive. And anyway, who can feel right about investing in prisons when we could spending that money somewhere else?!
So, CLICK HERE to take a look at the article and let me know what you think.