Sunday, 31 July 2016


Incredibly with little notice but overwhelmingly positive results, the government of Portugal decriminalised (not legalised but offenses are addressed as a matter of public-health resulting in a referral to counselling services but not incarceration) all drugs—fifteen years ago.
Usage has not skyrocketed (as some opponents to the change feared and use vociferously as an argument against reform in other countries presently) and moreover, deaths from over-dose or infections spread by using dirty needles have plummeted to essentially zero as has gang activity, and probably just as significantly, there’s far less of a problem in Portuguese cities with novel synthetic experimental substances or ones that skirt the pharmacological standards as legalish highs. There are of course probably other systemic problems, like political corruption and inequalities in sentencing that has been reduced as well. I should think that if Portugal’s long-running experiment was the success that it appears to be, other countries would have been emulating it for a long time. The places, however, with the biggest drug and crime problems also reinforce the most wrong-headed understanding of abuse and addiction, I think, treating dependency as a sin or some kind of moral-failing and treating it almost exclusively with the corrective measures, penance, that held that other ailments where a curse that the sufferer brought upon himself. What do you think? No other disease diagnosis questions moral fiber or attributes a relapse to a lack of willpower.  Do we expect the addict to take the retribution that he had coming like we did lepers and other outcasts not so long ago?