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TopazLover TopazLover (Member)

Portugal did it.

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http://www.businessinsider.com.au/portugal-drug-policy-decriminalization-works-2012-7

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 10 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.

It seems like the US is so focused on punishment that we fail to do the right thing.

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perhaps the US is so focused upon punishment because it is a "christian" based government. my experiences have been with a modern christian movement which is judgemental of the individual and wanting a great deal of accountability for the individual. the US has the most prisoner per capita of any other country on the face of the planet...hardly a bragging point for the "land of the free".

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Muslim nations also seem focused on punishment and theirs seem a tad bit harsh.

I don't have a problem with trying out the Portugal solution. Certainly what we are doing now is not working.

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I look at alcoholism and drug addiction as a public health issue. When the push came to criminalize and jail offenders we saw the birth of private jails. We have seen the prison population expand exponentially. Many do get sober/clean in jail and if they have something to go home to they might make it. If they have no skills and no job it becomes a very tough battle.

We obviously need a new plan of action. Elected officials still are focused in the wrong area. They want drug testing for those who receive assistance. Put that money in to a real program to assist those who are battling this disease and stop moralizing about this disease. Few other diseases cause as many problems and yet are so misunderstood. I think it is time we deal with the diseases of addiction. Addicts carry lots of shame, they do not need punishment. They are punishing themselves everyday.

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