In 2000 Portugal activated its drug decriminalization policy, and in July 2001 it became legally effective. Now, fifteen years later, drug abuse is down by 50%, and overdose-related deaths are down 28%. Eric Kain of Forbes writes: “Health experts in Portugal [said] that Portugal’s [decision to] decriminalize drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. ‘There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,’ said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law [in July 2011.]”

“The number of addicts considered ‘problematic’ — those who repeatedly use ‘hard’ drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said. Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added. ‘This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.'” For 20 years The Economist has led calls for a rethink on drug prohibition. In a new pocket documentary, the editors of The Economist look at new approaches to drugs policy, from Portugal to Colorado. Drugs: War or Store? (which you can watch above) kicks off the magazine’s new Global Compass series, examining novel approaches to policy problems.

Brian Vastag of Scientific American reports: “‘Now instead of being put into prison, addicts are going to treatment centers and they’re learning how to control their drug usage or getting off drugs entirely,” report author Glenn Greenwald, a former New York State constitutional litigator, said during a press briefing at Cato last week. Under the Portuguese plan, penalties for people caught dealing and trafficking drugs are unchanged; dealers are still jailed and subjected to fines depending on the crime. But people caught using or possessing small amounts—defined as the amount needed for 10 days of personal use—are brought before what’s known as a ‘Dissuasion Commission,’ an administrative body created by the 2001 law. Each three-person commission includes at least one lawyer or judge and one health care or social services worker. The panel has the option of recommending treatment, a small fine, or no sanction.”

The War on Drugs has been one of the single greatest failures of the modern world.  Not only has it done nothing to rid our world of addiction and crime, it has had the complete opposite effect of worsening the problem entirely.  The War on Drugs has created a vast underworld network of darkness and unspeakable horror that has devastated nearly every country it has touched.  No one explains this devastation better than retired police officer and LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) co-founder, Peter Christ, who appears on a New York newscast in the video below and takes on all aspects of the disastrous war.  Watch as he brilliantly lays out the logic of why all drugs must be legalized as soon as possible. The positive benefits to our society would begin to manifest almost immediately.  To learn more about LEAP and why thousands of law enforcement officials are demanding the legalization of all drugs, be sure to visit and follow their brilliant team on Facebook and Twitter. (Photo credit: Fredrik Rubensson)

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Writer, editor, and founder of FEELguide. I have written over 5,000 articles covering many topics including: travel, design, movies, music, politics, psychology, neuroscience, business, religion and spirituality, philosophy, pop culture, the universe, and so much more. I also work as an illustrator and set designer in the movie industry, and you can see all of my drawings at

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