It seems like I have read a number of articles on the failing “War on Drugs” lately. There is no doubt that addictive drugs are a huge burden on society and as someone who actively avoided drugs, I am personally fine with the ban.
That being said, I really do wonder if other nations have it right and we have it VERY wrong. Most of the news on the failed war on drugs is in the US (although Canada could probably be substituted – just divide all dollar numbers by 10); the border that does not work, tens of thousands killed in the Mexican drug war and tens of thousands before them in Columbia, the ongoing funding that it provides to terrorists, the $20B+ per year that the US spends on the war on drugs which they could divert to education, medical care or debt payments and of course, the fact that the stats prove that it just is not working.
You know it must be failing when Pat Robertson says it is failing and time to consider decriminalization. I have never agreed with anything that Pat Robertson says, he is a nutter. This would be a first.
And the stats prove it all out – just look at Holland versus the US. The US fails on every metric (Canada would similarly fail).
What prompted this post? An article which created a sickness in the pit of my stomach on how much we spend and how we restrict people’s choice resulting in much higher usage. Human nature revolves around “If I cannot have it, I want it more. Allow me to have it, and I lose interest” and we are driving more people to drugs.
The article: Portugal drug decriminalization policy works (2012). It is not true Holland type decriminalization but a variant that has seen a radical drop in drug usage:
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.
Too bad our a Prime Minster doesn’t have the leadership vision and strength to take this issue on.
You can read the full report on soros.org here. Very sad that our government will not face the facts and stop wasting time, money and people’s lives.