Decriminalization of Drugs in Portugal



Because the United States has yet fully decriminalized drugs, anybody who is presently addicted to drugs is a significant danger of encountering the criminal justice system. If you reside in Virginia and are tired of the stress, you might consider Virginia rehab.

You will be free of the fear of having a bad encounter with the authorities while in Virginia rehab. You will have time to cleanse and recharge in Virginia treatment.

The United States of America

The "war on drugs" has been going on in America since the late 1960s, with the media popularising the phrase after President Richard Nixon's news conference on June 18, 1971. The US currently spends $51 billion per year on methods it thinks will effectively decrease drug trafficking via eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.

What have the results of the drug war been? The United States boasts some of the world's highest drug usage rates, an opioid crisis that has claimed the lives of countless people, and the world's highest imprisonment rates.

Not only that, but the United States' leadership in the "war on drugs" has prompted many other nations to follow suit, since countries that follow US policy are often rewarded with trade agreements and other benefits.


“The worldwide war on drugs has failed, with catastrophic repercussions for people and communities across the world,” according to a study published by the Global Commission on Drug Policy in 2011. Fundamental changes in national and global drug control policies are urgently required fifty years after the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was established, and years after President Nixon began the US government's war on drugs.”

So, what's the other option? We may turn to Portugal for inspiration. In 2001, the nation was experiencing severe difficulties as a result of increasing heroin usage across all socioeconomic groups.

This drug abuse was causing an increase in a variety of societal issues. It was therefore determined that the nation would take a bold step and adopt a drug decriminalization program, which was seen as dangerous by some.

It's critical to understand the difference between decriminalization and legalization.

Legalization refers to a regime in which drugs are no longer considered illegal, and their possession and sale are permitted.

Decriminalization differs from legalization in that it does not make drugs lawful, but it does remove the danger of coming into touch with the criminal justice system if they are used or possessed. Instead, the problem is relegated to the realm of administration.

In Portugal, it was determined that in most instances, the administration of drug users was unnecessary, thus the penalties that the Portuguese state might theoretically impose are seldom imposed.


What were the outcomes of this study? Fortunately for those with an interest, Portugal permitted statistics to be gathered on what occurred after drug decriminalization.

The outcomes were largely favorable. Overdose rates decreased, drug usage decreased in virtually every category, new HIV infections decreased, and crime decreased.

Portugal achieved this by not just decriminalizing drugs but also establishing addiction-related treatments. This entails redirecting money formerly spent on policing drug users to drug treatment and education initiatives.

More needle exchange programs were created to reduce the number of infectious illnesses transmitted by needles.

The United States of America's Future

Is it conceivable that the US will be able to adopt policies comparable to those of Portugal? It looked like a far-fetched fantasy that would never come true a few decades ago, but things have been changing lately. There has been a huge movement to decriminalize cannabis in the United States since the turn of the century.


In addition, several states have started to allow the use of psychedelic substances. Even better news for decriminalization advocates: Oregon has become the first state in the United States to decriminalize possession of heavy narcotics.

The goal in Oregon is to enable individuals caught with modest quantities of hard drugs to avoid going to trial by paying a fee and enrolling in an addiction treatment program.

In the following years, it will be fascinating to watch what data comes out of the initiative.

If the evidence shows that decriminalization in Oregon is a success, we may see other states follow suit in the United States.

It should be emphasized, however, that one problem with drug policy is that it is often adopted not because it is proven to work, but because it is popular. It will be beneficial to have support from organizations that have traditionally opposed legalization if there is to be a coordinated effort to legalize marijuana throughout the nation.

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