In 2001, Portugal became the first country to decriminalise the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. Rather than being arrested, those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission – a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker – about treatment, harm reduction, and the support services that were available to them.
What happened next was rather surprising. The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime, and incarceration rates.
In spite of Portugal’s tangible results, other countries have been reluctant to follow. What are your thoughts? To weigh in on this topic, please cast your vote by selecting one of the voting buttons below.
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