"What we hate and fear about drugs — the violence, the overdoses, the criminality — derives from prohibition, not drugs."

An argument in favour of legalising all drugs

#Drugs

Sat, Mar 26th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Harper's Magazine, Dan Baum looks at what little the war on drugs has achieved — other than as a political tool to destroy opposition — and argues in favour of legalising it all, shifting the focus on "licensing, standardizing, inspecting, distributing, and taxing dangerous drugs."

[...] consider Portugal, which in 2001 took the radical step of decriminalizing not only pot but cocaine, heroin, and the rest of the drug spectrum. Decriminalization in Portugal means that the drugs remain technically prohibited — selling them is a major crime — but the purchase, use, and possession of up to ten days’ supply are administrative offenses. No other country has gone so far, and the results have been astounding. The expected wave of drug tourists never materialized. Teenage use went up shortly before and after decriminalization, but then it settled down, perhaps as the novelty wore off. (Teenagers — particularly eighth graders — are considered harbingers of future societal drug use.)

The lifetime prevalence of adult drug use in Portugal rose slightly, but problem drug use — that is, habitual use of hard drugs — declined after Portugal decriminalized, from 7.6 to 6.8 per 1,000 people. Compare that with nearby Italy, which didn’t decriminalize, where the rates rose from 6.0 to 8.6 per 1,000 people over the same time span. Because addicts can now legally obtain sterile syringes in Portugal, decriminalization seems to have cut radically the number of addicts infected with H.I.V., from 907 in 2000 to 267 in 2008, while cases of full-blown AIDS among addicts fell from 506 to 108 during the same period.

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