More Proof the Drug War Has Failed

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Drug War, Healthcare
Tags: , , ,

ht to Sullivan’s blog for the mention

URL for the original story

Portugal decriminalized drugs 10 years ago and instead focused on the treatment aspect of addiction.  This ten year experiment has resulted in a 50% drop in the repeated use of hard drugs and intravenous users.

If you know anything about addiction and its treatment, a 50% improvement is TOTALLY off the hook!   The best percentage reported for successful treatment of addiction usually occurs in 12-Step programs (although those are not the only successes, of course).  But even those don’t achieve a 50% success rate.  If their study results are legit, the U.S. really needs to take notice.

We’re wasting far too many lives, too much money and too much time on drug law enforcement.  Imagine how that money could be reinvested into treatment and other domestic needs.


  1. alopecia says:

    I’ve held for years that any sane debate over drugs policy must begin with a fundamental question: Which causes more harm, drugs or the violence associated with the illegal drug trade?

    Drug warriors in the US have always paid lip service to a balanced approach: treatment, prevention and law enforcement. In practice, of course, public money for treatment is next to nonexistent and prevention consists largely of the risible DARE program (shown repeatedly to be ineffectual). Portugal provides us with an example of what a sane and truly balanced approach can achieve.

    But “let’s build more rehab facilities” doesn’t win elections like “lock ’em up” does and decriminalization becomes legalization during election campaigns, so I’m not holding my breath until we come to our senses in this country.

    • drangedinaz says:

      We’ve always allowed retribution to play too much of a role in our Criminal Justice system. Chris Hayes statement about the Casey Anthony case touched on just how many people we have incarcerated in this country compared to other industrialized, free countries. I think it has been around 1/5 of the population, more than most totalitarian dictatorships… we’ve paid the price by wasting tons of money on pot smokers, etc. I think the biggest motivator to change our policy of “throw them all in jail” is our inability to pay for it. Whatever works to change people’s minds, be it good studies and experiments in other countries or our current recession, I’m all for it.

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