Instead of locking up drug users Portugal did the opposite.
In the 90’s the spread of drugs in Portugal became a huge problem with 1 in 100 people addicted to heroin.
Authorities have been trying for decades to contain the global trade on illicit drugs but have since realized that prohibition was NOT the answer.
In the video, The Economist tells the story of how this country sparked a global movement for change.
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In 2001 Portugal implemented a policy that were putting people first.
The new law enabled citizens to poses 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 focused on addicts, so instead of being punished they are offered help. 90 % of the anti drug resources are spent on treatment and 10% on punishment, in the US the opposite is true.
State funded outreach workers are handing out clean needles, smoking pipes and offers free advice to drug users. Decriminalization removed much of the stigma addicts felt and they were not seen as outcasts anymore.
Since the new law was implemented, drug related deaths dropped from 80 in 2001 to only 16 in 2012. In the same period heroin addicts halved!