Friday, May 22, 2009

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal a Success

Here's a great case study at the CATO Institute on the effects of drug decriminalization in Portugal:

Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal's decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for "drug tourists" — has occurred.

The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.
It's a slam dunk. The population has experimented with it and agree it's better this way. Usage is down, and side related diseases among addicts are down. The nightmare scenarios never happened.

Now they just have to take the step to full legalization from decriminalization.

Hat tip: Pat

1 comment:

  1. 100 years ago all these things will legal. The original Coca-Cola actually contained cocaine. Yet there was no drug problem 100 years ago. The banning of alcohol in the 1920s, just lead to a massive increase in organized crime. The same organized crime situation exists today, because of the drug laws.
    It`s time for a dose of common sense.