Portugal's Drug Experiment
Faced with a public health crisis, Portugal decriminalized the possession of all illicit drugs. Nearly a decade later, there’s evidence that its great drug experiment may have worked.
Faced with both a public health crisis and a public relations disaster, Portugal’s elected officials took a bold step. They decided to decriminalize the possession of all illicit drugs — from marijuana to heroin — but continue to impose criminal sanctions on distribution and trafficking. The goal: easing the burden on the nation’s criminal justice system and improving the people’s overall health by treating addiction as an illness, not a crime. Nearly a decade later, there’s evidence that Portugal’s great drug experiment not only didn’t blow up in its face; it may have actually worked.
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