Brian Vastag

Science Journalist

5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections. [READ STORY]

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Tagged as: addiction, decriminalization, drugs, policy, Scientific American

1 Comment

  1. Dear Brian, In your article you state, “Drug legalization removes all criminal penalties for producing, selling and using drugs; no country has tried it.” I beg to differ. We have legalized alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, as well as a host of other substances that can only be defined as “drugs.” I don’t mean to quibble, but until we truthfully acknowledge that these substances are drugs too, even subtle references like yours undermines the quality of any intelligent debate about a sane drug policy in this country. Enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work. Vince Bowers

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