Saturday, June 11, 2011

Does Portugal have the solution to our drug epidemic?

In 2001, the world's media descended on one of Lisbon's poorer districts. Portugal had become the first country in the EU to decriminalise drug use and the coverage painted a bleak picture of the continent's "most shameful neighbourhood" and "worst drugs ghetto" where addicts openly injected heroin.

This "ultra-liberal legislation", it was feared, would lead to drug tourists descending on Portugal. The leader of the country's People's Party, Paulo Portas, said plane-loads of foreign students would head for the Algarve for "sun, beaches and any drug you like".

Yet, 10 years on, Portugal's drug policy is being held up as the model for other countries to follow. Rather than criminalising people found in possession of drugs, they are sent to a "dissuasion commission" for treatment and the results have been spectacular.

Read the article


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White Panther said...

It's obvious that the so-called war on drugs have failed, and as in the case of Mexico and the U.S., failed miserably. It's time we approach the problem in a different, more sensible manner. I think the Portugal model is one of the best approaches there is today.

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