What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

What Drug Decriminalization Looks Like In Portugal

April 1, 2013, 4:47 PM
Shutterstock_95663014

What's the Latest Development?

In 2001, the Portuguese government changed its drug laws so that possession of small amounts over a predetermined limit -- for example, one gram of heroin or 25 grams of marijuana -- would be treated as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Twelve years later, according to Portugal's anti-drug program head João Goulão, data shows that the number of addicts entering rehab has increased dramatically, while the number of teen drug use and HIV infection rates among addicts has decreased. He says, "We haven't found some miracle cure...[but] decriminalization hasn't made the problem worse."

What's the Big Idea?

When a commission of experts -- most of whom weren't politicians -- looked at revamping Portugal's policy, they quickly decided that most drug users weren't criminals, which led the way towards a more "humanistic and pragmatic" approach. One opponent, Manuel Pinto Coelho, fears that this tactic represents a kind of capitulation in what he still says is a war on drugs: "How...is it possible to keep young people away from drugs, when everyone knows exactly how many pills can legally be carried around?" Still, according to Frank Zobel of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Drug consumption has not increased severely. There is no mass chaos...That's a very good outcome."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Der Spiegel

 

What Drug Decriminalization...

Newsletter: Share: