In July, 2001, Portugal enacted a new law that the purchase, possession or use of any previously illegal drug would no longer be a criminal offense. Portugal’s official position is now treatment, not punishment.
Since decriminalization, drug use has gone down 10%, drug infections are down and drug deaths are down. Causation is convoluted, of course, but the drug use explosion predicted by many people never occurred. Ten other European countries have decriminalized drugs. Even in Great Britain, where punishment is still technically on the books, 80% of users who are caught are given a caution or a warning, and only about 1,000 people per year spend time in prison.
Category: Drug laws