Portugal's success would be the ideal model for Canada to base decriminalization of illicit drugs. Although Canada does not have as much of a drug epidemic that Portugal had before decriminalization, statistics show the country has rising rates of both heroin and meth use. Treating this evident problem with a different approach has been gathering heavy support over the years. Support behind this legal movement in Canada includes the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and the Green Party of Canada. Not only were drugs decriminalized in Portugal, the entire system was reconstructed to aid those addicted. Both the reduce in law enforcement towards illicit drugs and the increase in funding towards treatment paid off greatly for Portugal. Overdose death went down by 72% while the spread of HIV went down by 94%. Canada has prioritized the war on drugs, although the method being followed does not prove effective. It might prove better to abandon this current war in favour for public health, following Portugal's lead in providing harm reduction treatment and treating the addiction as the public health crisis that it
For many years, a real push has been looming on the idea of legalizing now illegal drugs. This has become a hot debate throughout nations all over the world, from all walks of life. The dispute over the idea of decriminalizing illegal drugs is and will continue on as an ongoing conflict. In 2001, Drug decriminalization in all drugs, including cocaine and heroin, became a nationwide law in Portugal (Greenwald). Ethan Nadelman, essayist of “Think again: Drugs,” states his side of the story on the continuing criminalization of hard drugs, in which he stand to oppose. Whether it is for the good of human rights or not, decriminalizing drugs may be a good head start for a new beginning.
The systematic scheduling of drugs in the United States is arbitrary which leads to a discriminative social injustice. Some psychedelic substances such as Psilocybin are schedule 1 drugs, while alcohol and nicotine are legal. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) both alcohol and nicotine are proven to be harmful and addictive (2017). Conversely, Psychedelic substances have not been proven to be addictive. This equates to a social injustice that discriminates over someone who may prefer the effects of psilocybin to nicotine, even under the science that has shown nicotine and alcohol have a higher potential for abuse. Unfortunately, many political factors come into play regarding the legal status of drugs and industries such as the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries, who harbor the most money and have an influence in the legality of drugs whether they are safe or not. While legalizing psychedelic substances would most likely cut into profits for these large industries they would bring about economic benefits as well.
Proponents on the legalization of drugs believe if drugs were to become legal; the black market worth billions of dollars would become extinct, drug gangsters would disappear, addicts would stop committing crimes to support their habit and the prison system would not be overwhelmed with a problem they cannot defeat. The decriminalization of drugs will only make illegal drugs cheaper, easier to get and more acceptable to use. “The U.S. has 20 million alcoholics and alcohol misusers, but only around 6 million illegal drug addicts. If illegal drugs were easier to obtain, this figure would rise”(Should Drugs be decriminalized? No.November 09, 2007 Califano Joseph A, Jr).”
“Drug policy regarding the control of the traditional illicit substances (opiates, cocaine, cannabis) is currently moving through upbeat times in almost all Western countries. Prohibition on the basis of repressive law enforcement not only seems to fail on a large scale, but also to create vast additional costs, problems, and harm for drug consumers, who often find themselves in extreme social, economic, and health conditions” (Fischer 1995: 389).
We should decriminalize drugs in the U.S. instead of legalizing them. Decriminalization refers to the lessening of criminal penalties of certain acts. According to De Marneffe, “… the legalization of drugs … [is] the removal of criminal penalties for the manufacture, sale, and possession of large quantities of recretational drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine” (346).
Man, as a creature, is inherently bored. Since the dawn of time, it has been the
Would you like to live in a safer, drug-free community? I do and here is how to start: by decriminalizing all drugs! Since Richard Nixon coined the phrase “War on Drugs” in 1971, America has failed miserably to reduce the consumption and traffic of illicit drugs from outside our borders. Although a heavy portion are against decriminalizing drugs because of short-term consequences and health concerns in public communities, Portugal’s evident sixteen-year experience with drug decriminalization has proven otherwise with significant, long-term positive outcomes. However, due to the long-lasting and persuasive positive outcomes of decriminalization, it is vital that the U.S. strongly reconsiders the prohibition of all drugs for the health and economic benefit of our communities.
In our current model, penalties for drug possession and use are so severe that once a young person is penalized it is difficult, near impossible for them to recover and be a productive member of the society. Decriminalization, on the other hand would encourage users to honestly discuss their drug use with health experts who will act as advisers and not adversaries. In Portugal, for example treatments are recommended for those who have drug problems; repeated offenders are accorded non criminal punishments like suspension of their driver's license or banned from specific neighborhoods known for drug use (Hart, 2013, p. 325). This is a far cry from how drug offences are dealt with here in the United States. It is not uncommon for fines for drug possession to range from anywhere from $100 to $100,000 or more in this country. This is an immense amount of money when taken in light of sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh's documentations that most dealers make the same amount of money if they had taken employment at McDonald's (Hart, 2013, p. 187). Jail sentences range widely depending on the crime charged, the type of drugs involved, and the state's laws, can range from a few days or weeks to 10 years or more in prison. This leads to former inmates exiting from prisons as hardened criminals who
In order to find an alternative to the United States current drug policy, it is helpful to look at the current options. Governments typically take three broad approaches toward drugs. The first is legalization, in which possession and sale are lawful but still subject to regulation and taxation. The second is criminalization, which consists of the banning of possession and sale with criminal punishment (i.e incarceration). Lastly, there is the combination of the two—where sale and possession are prohibited, yet possession is punishable only by sanctions, such as fines or abuse treatment but not jail time.
With addiction rates rising every year, the overwhelming drug dilemma has opened the eyes of numerous governments around the world. This paper will discuss what decriminalization is and if decriminalizing drugs in the United States will lead to lower crime rates and lower incarceration rates. In addition, it will discuss the impact decriminalization will have on society, the effect it will have on the economy and finally how it influences the now addicted, should legalization occur. Currently, Portugal has decriminalized all drugs in every drug classification for recreational use. Furthermore, Colorado is the only state in the United States, to have decriminalized marijuana. In looking at the drug laws in Portugal, Colorado, Mexico, and the Netherlands this review will examine what appears to be working and not working of both decriminalizing and keeping certain drug classifications illegal. Multiple web-based articles, books, and peer-reviewed articles were the many sources used in researching this paper. Can drug decriminalization be a practical way to cut down on drug related crimes? Will it benefit society, boost the economy, and help the addict? Based on this research I have concluded at a federal level, the United States should decriminalize
President Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs was an absolute failure that has resulted in tens of thousands of non-violent criminals being placed in the same federal prisons as murderers and rapists. In fact, these non-violent offenders make up a little over fifty percent of the prison population. Most of the taxpayer money spent on keeping these people in prison can easily go to treating addiction had drugs simply been decriminalized. In 2001, Portugal had decriminalized all drugs and found that there were little to none adverse effects on drug usage. In fact, drug related pathologies such as STDs and drug related deaths had actually decreased (Greenwald). Some drugs such as marijuana has almost no major side effects, and the legalization and taxing of it can easily both benefit the government, and take power away from the drug cartels. Economist Milton Friedman once said, “If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug
Portugal is one of many cases (amongst Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and others) in which the state prioritized the mental health and wellbeing of their citizens over fear tactics and faulty methods of deterrence. I feel strongly that the best way to combat drug addiction is not to attack the drug itself, but rather ensure that all individuals are educated on the realities of drug use, reduce the social stigma associated with drug use, and promote therapy and rehabilitative services that are accessible to every individual without exception.
Drug legalization is an enduring question that presently faces our scholars. This issue embraces two positions: drugs should not be legalized and drugs should be legalized. These two positions contain an array of angles that supports each issue. This brief of the issues enables one to consider the strengths and weakness of each argument, become aware of the grounds of disagreement and agreement and ultimately form an opinion based upon the positions stated within the articles. In the article “Against the Legalization of Drugs”, by James Q. Wilson, the current status of drugs is supported. Wilson believes if a drug such as heroin were legalized there would be no financial or medical reason to avoid heroin usage;
One the many controversies in our country today, regards the prohibition of illegal narcotics. Deemed unhealthy, hazardous, and even fatal by the authorities that be; the U.S. government has declared to wage a “war on drugs.” It has been roughly fifteen years since this initiative has begun, and each year the government shuffles more money into the unjust cause of drug prohibition. Even after all of this, the problem of drugs that the government sees still exists. The prohibition of drugs is a constitutional anomaly. There are many aspects and sides to look at the issue from, but the glaring inefficiency current laws exude is that any human should have the right to ingest anything he or she desires. The antagonist on the other end