I was interested to come across an article in Forbes, published last year, analyzing Portugal's experience with decriminalizing drug use. Here's an excerpt.
Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.
. . .
Many ... innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem. Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.
There's more at the link.
I've always been opposed to decriminalizing drugs, even though I accept that the current War On (Some) Drugs has been an almost complete failure and a colossal waste of national, regional and local resources. However, the information provided in this article has started me rethinking my opposition to decriminalization. I'm going to do some more research on the subject, and see whether other nations have had similar experiences.
Meanwhile, what do readers think? Is there any way to decriminalize drug use without running the risk of having addictions soar, or risking more people driving (and having accidents) under the influence of narcotic (rather than alcoholic) intoxicants? I'm not sure whether the 'cure' might not be worse than the 'disease'! Please, let's not have a re-hash of the tired old arguments about marijuana being no worse than tobacco or alcohol, or any of that nonsense. I'm concerned with the public safety and security implications of decriminalization. From that perspective, what say you?