Another report, this time from the Royal Society of Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health, has called for the end to the prohibition on all drugs and the “War on Drugs” as a whole. Instead of criminal activity, it suggests that drug abuse should be treated as a mental problem.
According to the report, the “War on Drugs” has failed to reduce the supply, demand and harm of these substances cause and has lead us to view legal and illegal substances differently, despite evidence that some illegal drugs may be as harmful, or even more harmful, as the legal ones.
Additionally, it has lead to the stigmatization and criminalization of significant portions of the population, particularly affecting the most vulnerable in our society. The criminal nature has also lead to increasingly dangerous drugs which would have otherwise been safer in a regulated system.
The report attempts to propose alternatives to current policy, focusing on an “evidence-based approach aimed at improving and protecting the public’s health and wellbeing.” These alternative policies would achieve this by preventing drug abuse and bringing to account those responsible for it.
The report highlights Portugal specifically as an instances where decriminalization has lead to positive change. In 1991 Portugal had almost 100,000 heroine addicts and the highest rate of drug related AIDS in Europe.
Following total decriminalization of the possession all drugs in 2001, Portugal has seen its overall drug use fall below the European average. New cases of HIV related to drug injection fell from 1,016 to just 56 in 2012, and deaths from drugs have fallen from 80 to just 16 in the same period.
For full information please read the report.