Sunday, April 26, 2009

Smart on drugs

While the Obama administration appears to be content with continuing the same failed drug policies of the past, the public discourse is shifting all around them. This week Time magazine looks at Glenn Greenwald's recent study about the results of a new policy in Portugal and notes their success with decriminalization. It explodes the biggest myth that has upheld the prohibition approach for all these decades. That being that decrim or legalization would lead to an explosion of new drug use.
The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.
This echoes the results in Switzerland where heroin was legalized and doesn't even address the decrease in property crime that was seen there once they got addicts off the streets and into clinical settings.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Webb, as part of an effort to reform prison policy, seeks to form a blue ribbon commission to explore decrim or even complete legalization here. "Nothing should be off the table," he said. As Webb notes when we represent 5% of the world population but house 25% of the world's prisoners, a large percentage of which are non-violent, small time drug offenders, it should be a signal that something is wrong with the current approach. Particularly since we still have some of the highest instances of drug abuse in the world. [graphic]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that decrim or legalizationn works, as you point out. On the other hand, here you can be strung up by the neck until dead. That seems to work too. It's everything in between that has failed.

7:33:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Yikes anon. I don't know where you are, but that seems a bit extreme.

7:38:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I'm hoping that Obama really supports policies that he appears not to, because he needs to avoid the kind of hysteria the Republicans would create if he let it be known he was for prosecuting the Bush administration or legalizing weed.

This is a much more intelligent man than we traditionally elect - smart enough to let others take some of the heat.

10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Fogg, I also keep hoping that he has a long range plan that includes the outcomes we're looking for, even if the path to them isn't immediately clear. I keep reminding myself of how times I thought he was doing it wrong during the campaign and his instincts proved to be correct. He's a much better poker player than I am. That I'm sure of.

1:17:00 PM  

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