Wed Jul 18, 2012, 11:58 PM
Demeter (74,397 posts)
Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs 11 Years Ago And The Results Are Staggering
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/portugal-drug-policy-decriminalization-works-2012-7#ixzz212KKSi00
On July 1st, 2001, Portugal decriminalized every imaginable drug, from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin. Some thought Lisbon would become a drug tourist haven, others predicted usage rates among youths to surge.
Eleven years later, it turns out they were both wrong.
Over a decade has passed since Portugal changed its philosophy from labeling drug users as criminals to labeling them as people affected by a disease. This time lapse has allowed statistics to develop and in time, has made Portugal an example to follow...Portugal's move to decriminalize does not mean people can carry around, use, and sell drugs free from police interference. That would be legalization. Rather, all drugs are "decriminalized," meaning drug possession, distribution, and use is still illegal. While distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense, possession and use is moved out of criminal courts and into a special court where each offender's unique situation is judged by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Treatment and further action is decided in these courts, where addicts and drug use is treated as a public health service rather than referring it to the justice system (like the U.S.), reports Fox News.
The resulting effect: a drastic reduction in addicts, with Portuguese officials and reports highlighting that this number, at 100,000 before the new policy was enacted, has been halved in the following ten years. Portugal's drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states, according to the same report.
One more outcome: a lot less sick people. Drug related diseases including STDs and overdoses have been reduced even more than usage rates, which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts...MORE
15 replies, 3198 views
Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs 11 Years Ago And The Results Are Staggering (Original post)
|Uncle Joe||Jul 2012||#8|
|Uncle Joe||Jul 2012||#11|
Response to Demeter (Original post)
Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:53 AM
gtar100 (3,209 posts)
4. Oops! The dark powers of this world let one slip by.
Good on Portugal. In the US here, getting high is considered a crime worthy of prison time. That's just nuts. But what else is new in the US. Portugal is onto something that seems to work well and I hope that more people start waking up to the benefit of decriminalization. The only people who would suffer are the financiers of black market drugs. No tears from me should they lose out on money they don't deserve. It would be interesting to see who pipes up and complains about this; even more so... who would lobby against such measures. You want to see the faces of those who do the devil's work? Look no further than those who fight against sane drug laws and prefer to throw people in prison.
Response to gtar100 (Reply #4)
Thu Jul 19, 2012, 02:36 AM
LuvNewcastle (7,046 posts)
Our laws are all about punishing and shaming people (and making money for the prison industry). It has nothing to do with helping the individual or society.
Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #8)
Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:38 PM
Demeter (74,397 posts)
9. You are welcome as ever, Uncle Joe
I don't think some of the readers here get the drift of it, though. The whole point is to identify and CURE drug addiction, not to permit recreational drug use....
Response to Demeter (Reply #9)
Thu Jul 19, 2012, 02:21 PM
Uncle Joe (31,205 posts)
11. I see our drug policy as being dysfunctional and counterproductive on three levels.
1. Treating drug use and addiction should be an educational, medical, personal privacy issue and not a criminal one. Criminalizing the people for non-violent drug use will only serve to propagate criminals and in the long term weaken the nation.
2. Some drugs should be legalized, cannabis; being safer than alcohol, tobacco or for that matter peanuts and in some ways actually being beneficial comes to mind.
3. The for profit prison system should be outlawed as the only logical goal for such an industry would be eternally lobbying government for ever more draconian laws and De Facto re-institutionalizing slavery.
Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #11)
Thu Jul 19, 2012, 11:48 PM
gtar100 (3,209 posts)
12. Yes, yes and yes!! Those are all great points.
At the rate of change around here, I'll probably be dead before any real reforms comes out of Washington DC regarding our drug laws. But I am so 100% behind ending the for-profit prison system. That alone is just plain evil.
Response to Demeter (Original post)
Mon Jul 23, 2012, 06:11 PM
happyslug (12,486 posts)
13. Drug Dealers live off a three legged stool
The first leg is Marijuana, it is what they sell the most off, it pays the bills.
The Second leg is the true addict, these are the steady income, these pay the bills to import and distribute the drugs. These are NOT as profitable as the first and third leg, but help keep the dealer and there distribution system profitable,
The third leg is the occasional user, some one who wants some cocaine for a party etc. These are not addicts, but what the drug when they want it and will pay top dollar for the drug. These are the big profit centers, but are NOT constant. You can NOT set up a distribution system on such occasional users.
Thus if you want to destroy the drug industry, you legalize Marijuana AND treat the addicts as addicts not criminals. i.e. develop a system where such addicts get treatment. Once these two groups are removed from the drug distributors list of customers, the drug dealer goes out of business for the final leg is to weak ON A CONSTANT BASIS to keep such dealers in business.
Portugal seems to hit on a way to achieve the above, treatment for drug addicts (including the drugs themselves, IF THAT IS WHAT IS NEEDED, remember unless the addict truly wants to quit, the addict will not, thus if the addict is addicted to heroin you may have to give the addict heroin). True drug addicts, do to they NEED for the drug, think nothing of getting someone else addicted, just so the true addict can get the drug they need. Thus addicts lead to more addicts. The government giving them the drug they need, cuts out the need to recruit new addicts (to buy the drug for the true addict in addition to the new addict), thus the number of new addicts drops.
Thus the best solution for the problems with drugs is the following:
1. Drug rehabilitation for anyone who whats it (Nixon was the last President to fully fund drug rehabilitation to that level).
2. For True addicts, which a court MUST find to exist for a person, the state has to provide the drug the true addict is addicted to, till such time as the true addict can go through rehabilitation. This will dry up the customer base for the drug dealer of the true addict.
3. Marijuana should be legalized and sold through a STATE owned Civil Service manned system. I live in Pennsylvania where such a system has existed since Prohibition when it comes to hard liquor (i.e. anything stronger then beer). For the simple reason Civil Service Employees KNOW they can say NO to a customer AND NOT lose their jobs is why it is rare to find hard liquor among teenagers (Beer which is sold via private enterprise is a different story). I repeat RARE, not unheard of, but rare. Marijuana should be sold the same way, to provide the drug for those people who want it, but providing the strongest incentives (Civil Service protection) to make sure the clerks selling Marijuana is selling it to people over age 21. This should dry up MOST of the customer base for Marijuana
The above would lead to lower amount of all illegal drugs being sold, first by driving out most of the illegal drug dealers out of business, second by making sure it is unprofitable to go into selling illegal drugs. Pennsylvania experience with beer and Alcohol shows the way to go, beer is sold by private enterprise often finds its way to teenagers and other people who should NOT be drinking. Hard liquor, while not unheard of, is a lot rarer for teenagers to get a hold of. Civil Service are noted for NOT selling anything at the best price, not providing the best service etc, but they do do one thing, they make sure they follow the rules so they keep they Civil Service Jobs. Remember in private enterprise, there is NOT job security, any employment contract is at will, which means supervisor/owners can set up systems that encourage sells to anyone, even addicts and teenagers. i.e. promotion to those that do it, termination for those that don't AND the burden of proof of such illegal termination is on the fired Employee, unlike a fired Civil Service employee, whose employer must PROVE the Civil Service employee broke some rule.
The above may pass some day, but I do not see any time in the Future (in fact the Governor OF Pennsylvania wants to get rid of the State Monopoly on selling hard Liquor, and turn it over to private enterprise).
Response to happyslug (Reply #13)
Mon Jul 23, 2012, 07:17 PM
musiclawyer (2,162 posts)
14. Great Post. Which approach do you like better? COL, WA, Or OR
Each measure is different in terms of legalization. Only one of them needs to pass to effectively kill the WOD. See my post in reply to Panasonic's thread
"So, in terms of marijuana legalization, the three states passes it..." in GD
Response to musiclawyer (Reply #14)
Mon Jul 23, 2012, 10:37 PM
happyslug (12,486 posts)
15. None of these proposals will have ANY effect on the War on Drugs
Last edited Wed Jul 25, 2012, 06:13 PM - Edit history (1)
As long as FEDERAL LAW makes the use of Marijuana a FEDERAL CRIME and as long as FEDERAL LAW permits LOCAL and STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT Agencies to enforce Federal Law (and as long as Federal Law permits such local and state law Enforcement agencies to keep any assets also obtained when enforcing Federal Law) the War on Drugs will continue. The proposed laws are meaningless as long as FEDERAL LAW exists that outlaw Marijuana.
The propose State Laws are more to show a willingness of the population to legalize Marijuana then to actually legalize marijuana. That being the case, all the the propose laws will be effective for that purpose. If the Federal Government ever does legalize marijuna then what the state's pass will have some effect.
Before I go on an state my position, some comments on the Pennsylvania Governor at the time fo the REPEAL of Prohibition, Governor Pinchot, the only man elected TWICE to be Pennsylvania's governor before 1970 (When the State Constitution was changed to permit sitting Governors to run for re-election).
Pinchot was Governor 1923-1927 AND the again 1931-1935). Pinchot was a Progressive, under Theodore Roosevelt he ran the US Forest Service, and made it a real force in Environmental matters. During his first term as Governor, he "reinvented" the regulatory system in Pennsylvania to the one still used, it is among the best in the Country in regards to regulations. He imposed the first restrictions on the Coal and Iron Police, he started the State Highway Patrol (Which was different from the preexisting Pennsylvania State Police, but the two were merged after WWII), his administration was the first administration to give any support for unions (for that he was denied the GOP nomination to become US Senator). He purchased vast lands to form state Forests, he improved the State park System.
When elected a second time in 1931 the first thing he did was to outlaw the Coal and and Iron Police, and for that alone for should be voted for Sainthood (more on the Coal and Iron Police below). In his second term he spent both State and Federal funds to improve the state's roads (While a life long Republican, was a personal friend of FDR and received a lot of funds to improve infrastructure in the State (Pinchot paved a lot of rural roads in Pennsylvania "to get the farmer out of the mud").
Like most politicians, most progressive agreed with him on most things but others did disagree with some of Pinchot's views. His close friend, John Muir disagreed with Pinchot's preference for a "Working Forest" where small companies or just families could harvest trees but preserve the overall forest (Muir preferred complete preservation of "wilderness" something Pinchot opposed). On the other hand both Muir and Pinchot opposed the massive clean cutting of forest that became the norm after Pinchot was removed from being the head of the Forest Service in 1910.
Another area where modern progressives may disagree with Pinchot is Prohibition, he was an active supporter of Prohibition and when it was repealed tried to get it passed in Pennsylvania (but was shot down by the voters). In response to that vote, but still seeing liquor as something that was inherently evil Pinchot set up the present State Store System. His rationale was simple, the people have said they wanted liquor and as such he will permit them to have liquor BUT he would try to make sure as much as possible that as many of the worse parts of the use of Liquor be restricted. i.e. people could buy it, but under very strict rules. In term of drugs (And I do include Alcohol, including beer, in the definition of drugs) I also agree with Pinchot's solution. Drugs must be regulated and that includes at the point of sale. The best way to regulate at the point of sale is to make sure it is done by an employee who can NOT be fired for NOT selling the drug. Under the laws of the 1930s and today that is Civil Service Employees only.
I write the above for I believe the best solution is to restrict drug sales, hard drugs have to be kept illegal, to much problems with they use. Alcohol and Marijuana has to much demand at the present time to outlaw, thus regulate is the best option. No advertisement should be permitted, and then only sold through stores by Civil Service (i.e. state owned stores, except when sold by the drink or other small amount). Note not a compete prohibition, but enough of one to have some effect.
More on Pinchot
More on Muir:
More on the "Coal and Iron Police" which has been called the only truly terrorist groups to exist in the US
1915 US Senate hearing on the Coal and Iron Police:
1928 ACLU report on the Police in Pennsylvania including the Coal and Iron: