A discussion for the decriminalization of Psychoactive substances.

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Drugs are bad. Yes. I understand that, but the global war on drugs has been a failure. In a recent interview for the Los Angeles Times, the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico referred to the war on drugs as "an unmitigated disaster."  England for the third year in a row has the highest level of drug use in all of Europe, maybe we should take a page from Portugals book. Portugal took a leap and decriminalized the possession of all drugs 17 years ago— everything from marijuana to cocaine. Today, Portuguese authorities don't arrest anyone found holding what are considered less than a 10-day supply of any drug.  Instead, drug offenders receive a citation and are ordered to appear before a special panel called "dissuasion panels" made up of legal, social, and psychological experts. Most cases are just suspended unless its a repeat. Even then the people on the panel might prescribe treatment, ranging from motivational counseling to opiate substitution therapy. Imagine as a youth being arrested for possession being treated as a criminal, getting a criminal record.This can ruin your life and how easy it will be too find a well-paying job. There is nothing bad that can come from decriminalization.   The rate of new HIV infections in Portugal has fallen precipitously since 2001, the year its law took effect, declining from 1,016 cases to only 56 in 2012. Overdose deaths decreased from 80 the year that decriminalization was enacted to only 16 in 2012. In the US, by comparison, more than 14,000 people died in 2014 from prescription opioid overdoses alone. Portugal's current drug-induced death rate, three per million residents, is more than five times lower than the European Union's average of 17.3, according to EU figures. So why haven't we considered this yet? There's outstanding evidence supporting decriminalization, there's less evidence supporting the war on drugs. 

 

 


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