Portugal decriminalized drug possession in 2001.
What were the consequences?
They decided that rather then sending addicts to jail and giving them a criminal record that will follow them around, it would give them a small fine and send them to a treatment center. This is the policy on all drugs from marijuana to heroin.
The U.S has debated similar policies, the argument against it is almost always that decriminalizing illegal drugs or illegal use of drugs would result in an increase in addicts, which would have all kinds of other ramifications such as a rise in crime rate in correlation to burglaries, theft and other crimes that are related to drug use and addicts. While those might seem like valid worries, Portugal’s numbers prove them to be incorrect.
The statistics collected show that drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001, not only has it decreased in young adults but adult use has also decreased also.
However, all of the arguments against decriminalization aren’t incorrect, the decriminalization of illegal drugs has caused many young adults to stop using substances to get a “legal high” from synthetic marijuana to bath salts because getting caught with illegal drugs doesn’t have such a harsh punishment. But, that’s not a bad thing.
While the user isn’t going to get a stiff sentence, they will get help. Getting caught with illegal drugs means that they will be sent to a treatment center, unlike the 10 people in D.C who overdosed today (Friday June 5) on Bizarro, a synthetic legal form of PCP. Those people will never have the opportunity to get help.
D.C has average of two people a day die from an overdose on Bizarro. Portugal has one of the lowest number of people overdosing in the world and a steady decrease in the number of addicts. All can be attributed to the decriminalizing of illegal drugs. Many people have tier opinion, but numbers don’t lie.