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Portugal Ends the War on Drugs

Posted 12-27-2011 at 12:33 AM by Anenome

(from a deleted thread that, I suppose, they deemed too political, even though it's actually about social issues. I only kept a few comments...).

Five years ago, Portugal decriminalized drug use and possession and began treating addicts as a health concern rather than a criminal problem.

The results are in:
Quote:
...The paper, published by Cato in April 2011, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.

Compared to the European Union and the US, Portugal drug use numbers are impressive.

Following decriminalization, Portugal has the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the EU: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%, Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%. Drug use in older teens also declined. Life time heroin use among 16-18 year olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%.

New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003.

Death related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half.

The number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and the considerable money saved on enforcement allowed for increase funding of drug free treatment as well.

Property theft has dropped dramatically (50% - 80% of all property theft worldwide is caused by drug users).
...
Read more here.

So, yet another libertarian solution to the modern problem proves effective. (No one tell Johan :P)

I've never done a drug in my life; I've never even so much as smoked pot; I don't even like to get drunk or anything else that alters my consciousness.

This is not about vicarious thrills, it's about a rational conclusion, drawn from the evidence, based on good theory and principles, that anyone can see would be objectively positive for society as a whole. Let's end the war on drugs.
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  1. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    By Inscribed:
    Quote:
    "needs of the many" = tyranny of the majority, and should have no place in government law, even though it obviously does. Its basically a blank check to dismiss minority rights.

    The government shouldn't have any burden of supporting "losers" in the first place, as anenome points out. People make their own decisions and responsible for the repercussions of those decisions. I shouldn't have to pay out of my pocket for the government to babysit other people, which is basically what the "war on drugs" is all about.
    Posted 12-27-2011 at 12:34 AM by Anenome Anenome is online now
  2. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    By Alexious:
    Quote:
    I usually try to stick to the game threads around here Evil, but I think one of the main points the OP was trying to make is that it is FAR more expensive to keep these people locked up than it is to pay for their treatment and recovery.

    Not that politicians, who get a boost to their poll numbers from voters AND large contributions from the corporations who run our prison system for being "tough on crime", are at all interested in changing the current system. One of the largest groups of people who are interested in change is law enforcement officers.
    Posted 12-27-2011 at 12:35 AM by Anenome Anenome is online now
  3. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inscribed
    "needs of the many" = tyranny of the majority,
    Too true. Let me tell you a little story...

    When the communists began to starve, the leader took the fat man and put him in the great pot and lit the fire. About that time, the fat man became disillusioned with communism and said, "Hey, fellas, come on now, I wanna get out of here!" The leader looked at him with disdain and said, "You who have had so much, how dare you complain. Think of all the people whose lives will be saved by your grand sacrifice. Do not wail, do not cry--instead boil in joy for the community will eat well tonight."

    Utilitarianism does not consider ethics, nor rights, and is therefore an evil philosophy. In the story above, it is used to justify murder, showing how morally bankrupt a philosophy it truly is. Only a philosophy based on basic, inalienable rights can be an ethical philosophy.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inscribed
    and should have no place in government law, even though it obviously does. Its basically a blank check to dismiss minority rights.
    Exactly. The "greatest good" argument has led to the greatest evils. Hitler too cast genetic purity as a "greatest good" argument, and Germany bought it.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inscribed
    The government shouldn't have any burden of supporting "losers" in the first place, as anenome points out. People make their own decisions and responsible for the repercussions of those decisions. I shouldn't have to pay out of my pocket for the government to babysit other people, which is basically what the "war on drugs" is all about.
    I don't think anyone should be forced to pay for policies they disagree with. That's one of the core concepts behind the government I'm putting together for Atlantis, that law is voluntarily subscribed to. Laws are limited to both those who agree to have that law over them and who pay for that law, they are unable to shift the cost of a law to those who don't agree with the law (basic rights excepted, meaning your right not to be murdered is an ethical right and valid for all people, but there's no ethical component to say welfare or health costs, and if you choose to enter a scheme to pay for it for everyone, you can do so only willingly. There can never be a political body that decides for the entire country, such as Congress recently did with Obama care).
    Posted 12-27-2011 at 12:36 AM by Anenome Anenome is online now
 

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