Busting drug law fears

Nov 25, 2010

Portugal's decision to decriminalise all drug use did not lead to dramatic increases in drug abuse or drug-related harm, a joint Australian and UK study has found.

The study, by UNSW’s Dr Caitlin Hughes, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), and Professor Alex Stevens, of the University of Kent, is the first independent, academic investigation to assess the effects of the Portuguese policy.

“Contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalisation did not lead to major increases in ,” Dr Hughes and Professor Stevens wrote. “Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding.”

In July 2001, Portugal decriminalised the possession of up to 10 days’ supply of all types of illicit drugs. Instead of being arrested, people found in possession of these substances were referred to regional ‘committees for the dissuasion of addiction’. Simultaneously, Portugal increased its investment in treatment and harm reduction services, for example methadone substitution treatment for people who are dependent on heroin.

Since 2001, there has been only a modest increase in adult drug use (in line with other southern European countries), a reduction in drug-related deaths and HIV infections, a reduction in the burden of drug offenders on the prison system, and an increase in the quantity of drugs seized by the authorities.
“Given the frequent speculation about drug law reform, this provides much needed evidence that decriminalisation will not inevitably lead to catastrophic consequences for the reform country and that it may even aid the ability of health and law enforcement agencies to treat users and to detect and prosecute the traffickers of illicit drugs,” Dr Hughes said.

The study, "What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalisation of ?", is published in the British Journal of Criminology.

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More information: To read the full media release go to the NDARC website.

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Duude
1 / 5 (7) Nov 25, 2010
Did anyone else find contradictions in this story?
“Contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalisation did not lead to major increases in drug use...."

(Well, that's what they want people to believe. Lets check the evidence delivered in this article.)

"Portugal increased its investment in treatment and harm reduction services, for example methadone substitution treatment for people who are dependent on heroin."

(So why are they increasing their investment in treatment if they aren't seeing much of any increase in usage?)

"Since 2001, there has been only a modest increase in adult drug use (in line with other southern European countries), a reduction in drug-related deaths and HIV infections, a reduction in the burden of drug offenders on the prison system, and an increase in the quantity of drugs seized by the authorities.
(Why an increase in quantity of drugs seized? Is it to supply a new and larger generation of users?)
Maybe treatment doesn't work as well as prison?
Bob_B
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 25, 2010
@Duude maybe 2nd grade spelling would make it so less people can't spell 'dude' even though all you wanted was to be called 'dude.' You aren't even worthy of 'dude.'

Subhuman species don't deserve names.
dirk_bruere
4.8 / 5 (4) Nov 25, 2010
Best to fill the prisons and give $200billion per year to organized crime - you know it's the moral thing to do.
GlenShennan
5 / 5 (6) Nov 26, 2010
@Duude

Those aren't contradictions. The money they would have spent arresting, prosecuting and jailing people has instead been directed to harm prevention and education, giving people the power to make their own educated decisions. The increased funding for treatment is required because the criminalisation of substances has left us with a large population of problem users.

Apparently you believe that simple punishment/reward morality is the only mechanism for decision making that people are capable of. This is insolent and incorrect, as this study demonstrates.
COCO
1 / 5 (9) Nov 26, 2010
thin edge of the wedge here - Marajuna and the other deadly narcotics MUST be stopped - we should focus on the users and gaol them to show everyone the value of freedom. In Kanada where canabis I understand is freely available and controlled by thier feral government the streets are filled with filth and crime 24/7 - we cannot allow this to continue to spread - we have enough with alcohol and tobacco - more benign that pot but still some health concerns.
adamshegrud
5 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2010
thin edge of the wedge here - Marajuna and the other deadly narcotics MUST be stopped - we should focus on the users and gaol them to show everyone the value of freedom. In Kanada where canabis I understand is freely available and controlled by thier feral government the streets are filled with filth and crime 24/7 - we cannot allow this to continue to spread - we have enough with alcohol and tobacco - more benign that pot but still some health concerns.


WTF are you talking about.
Where are your sources
Since when is tobacco and alcohol "more benign" then pot.
Since when did pot become a deadly narcotic.

Where do you get off spouting about freedom and then in the same breath talk about removing it.
COCO
1 / 5 (6) Nov 28, 2010
hey adam - plse be more specific about your concerns w/o resorting to name calling and obscenties - are you stoned? Is it not classed as a narcotic? Are people not killed in marijuana operations? Facts speak for themselves - think about turning yourslef in Adam - be brave.
Jimee
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2010
Decriminalization offers few, if any harmful consequences and a fair number of positive ones (including weakening criminal activity)? What a surprise!
Ravenrant
5 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2010
Treatment goes up because when it is legal the users aren't viewed as criminals and are treated instead of sent to jail. the same thing would happen here if it were legalized. The conservative fools would say the same thing, 'Woe is us, now we are spending all our money treating these drug addicts since we legalized it.'

People don't think of all the costs to society of illegal drug use. We fill our jails which costs us a lot of money. These people don't pay taxes. They don't contribute to the GDP. They are stigmatized and will be even less likely to contribute to society when they leave jail. They are more likely to commit crimes other than drug use when they leave jail. Add all these costs and the drug war is more costly than anyone will admit, a lot more costly. Yes, there will be a lot more treatment, the difference is idiots say it like it's a bad thing.
dtxx
not rated yet Nov 28, 2010
hey adam - plse be more specific about your concerns w/o resorting to name calling and obscenties - are you stoned? Is it not classed as a narcotic? Are people not killed in marijuana operations? Facts speak for themselves - think about turning yourslef in Adam - be brave.


These types of arguments won't get you anywhere here.
Ravenrant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2010
Primitive cultures have used and still use various drugs. Yet they didn't have the drug problems, for the most part, that we have. The reason is that they incorporated drug use into their society instead of prohibiting it or hiding it. That is the only way to control it.
dtxx
5 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2010
Most of the old world drugs are not prone to abuse in the way that modern ones are. Opium is obviously a glaring exception.

Psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline containing cacti, or dimethyl tryptamine preparations like ayahuasca are not something that can even be taken on a daily basis for any extended period of time. Typically the 5HT2-a receptors are recycled and a repeat trip may not even be possible for up to 72 hours. Anyone attempting to abuse these substances in a manner similar to say crack will be in for what is colloquially known as a psychedelic scolding. Their behavior will change.
Ravenrant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2010
True. Opium wasn't part of the society, its use was hidden. While eating Mescaline cactus isn't something you would want to do very often, eating mushrooms can be.

If pot was never criminalized maybe we wouldn't have things like crack and designer drugs or as much use of them.

here is a good article:
http://www.cedro-...tch.html
random
5 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2010
hey adam - plse be more specific about your concerns w/o resorting to name calling and obscenties - are you stoned? Is it not classed as a narcotic? Are people not killed in marijuana operations? Facts speak for themselves - think about turning yourslef in Adam - be brave.


Lol.. I smell a troll
COCO
1 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2010
Hi Random - do I smell a joint - you all should be3 hunted down by the DEA and shown what freedom really means. No wonder there is so much traction for internet censorship!
Cynikal
not rated yet Nov 30, 2010
Just some links I think that are relevant to this topic:
http://www.drugwa...illegal/
Discusses the history of marijuana in the US and why it was criminalized (even shows that marijuana is a bit of a racist term for canibus.)

http://www.drugse...wodclock

Shows a running tally of this year's spending on the War on Drugs (right around $46.4 billion as of this posting.)
Bog_Mire
5 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2010
surprise surprise, if you send a drug abuser to rehab/counselling instead of incarceration you save society lots of resources and avoid turning the poor dope fiend into a harder criminal who drains/damages society for the rest of their life. No brainer. Duude, cant believe you didnt see the answers for yourself! Do you live in a closet?
rproulx45
not rated yet Dec 02, 2010
say what you want, good or bad, about drug use, but I think after all these years it has been shown that prison does not help the situation in any way.
dtxx
not rated yet Dec 02, 2010
True. Opium wasn't part of the society, its use was hidden. While eating Mescaline cactus isn't something you would want to do very often, eating mushrooms can be.


I think most users find the opposite to be true. Mushrooms are much more likely to cause an intensely unpleasant or confusing experience and tend to deliquesce desire for an immediate return trip. Mescaline is known for being gentle and is frequently recommended for a beginner's first foray into psychedelics.

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