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Portugal decriminalised drug use in 2001 - who knew?

(2 Posts)
Ponders Sun 24-Jul-11 20:02:45

Economist article from Aug 2009

'The number of addicts registered in drug-substitution programmes has risen from 6,000 in 1999 to over 24,000 in 2008, reflecting a big rise in treatment (but not in drug use). Between 2001 and 2007 the number of Portuguese who say they have taken heroin at least once in their lives increased from just 1% to 1.1%. For most other drugs, the figures have fallen: Portugal has one of Europe?s lowest lifetime usage rates for cannabis. And most notably, heroin and other drug abuse has decreased among vulnerable younger age-groups, according to Mr Cardoso.

The share of heroin users who inject the drug has also fallen, from 45% before decriminalisation to 17% now, he says, because the new law has facilitated treatment and harm-reduction programmes. Drug addicts now account for only 20% of Portugal?s HIV cases, down from 56% before. ?We no longer have to work under the paradox that exists in many countries of providing support and medical care to people the law considers criminals.?'

Blimey

I remember Cameron talking before the election about trying to reduce crime by tackling addiction - this Guardian piece from Sept 2010 says they were looking at the Portuguese model

but

'Officially, however, ministers remain resistant to the idea of decriminalisation. A Home Office statement yesterday said: "The government does not believe that decriminalisation is the right approach. Our priorities are clear; we want to reduce drug use, crack down on drug-related crime and disorder, and help addicts come off drugs for good."'

Well that's realistic then hmm

Jux Sun 24-Jul-11 20:13:18

The evidence has been around for years. For some reason our MPs are utterly resistant to it. Many people will ignore this even if you shove it up their noses, they'll go la la la-ing and pretend it's not there.

The best way of dealing with the bloodynsilly wasteful drugs war is to decriminalise the stuff, regulate the quality and collect the no doubt swingeing tax.

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