Instead of arresting drug users Portugal did the opposite.
In the video, The Economist tells the story of how Portugal sparked a global movement for change.
In 2001, Portugal implemented a policy putting it’s people first. The new law enabled citizens to possess small quantities of any drugs, so it was not a criminal offence for casual users to enjoy their drug of choice.
The state’s resources are being focussed on addicts, so instead of being punished they are offered help. A staggering 90 % of the anti-drug funds are being spent on treatment and only 10% on punishment. State funded outreach workers are handing out clean needles, smoking pipes and offers free advice to drug users. Decriminalisation removed much of the stigma addicts felt as they were not seen as outcasts anymore.
Drug-related deaths dropped from 80 in 2001 to only 16 in 2012 since the new law was implemented.
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