Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 12 submissions in the queue.
posted by janrinok on Friday February 13 2015, @03:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the stop-treating-medical-issues-as-legal-problems dept.

The old rat-with-drug-laced-water "experiment" is a sham. The only choice the rat in the empty cage has is drinking plain water or drinking drugged water. They never show you a CONTROL where there is a rat with a cage full of cool rat toys and rat friends.

Johann Hari reports via Alternet:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection. [...] just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop [smoking by] using nicotine patches.

[...]Nearly 15 years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe [...] They decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts and spend it instead on reconnecting them--to their own feelings and to the wider society.

[...]The [sic] most crucial step is to get [addicts] secure housing [as well as] subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.

[...]An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that, since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent.

[...]The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect: more crime, more addicts; but when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass--and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example.

Related Stories

Veteran Cop's 5-Point Plan to Reverse the Militarization of Police 55 comments

Common Dreams reports

Norm Stamper is a 34-year veteran police officer who retired as Seattle's Chief of Police in 2000. He is currently a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com). He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.

Chief Stamper uses elements of recent police-involved events to construct an account of an assault by a SWAT team on the home of what is thought to be a low-level, nonviolent drug offender—executed on the wrong house.

As Radley Balko points out in his superb book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, SWAT incidents of the type fictionalized above are proliferating at a frightening pace. In the '70s, the nation's roughly 18,000 municipal, county, and state police forces conducted a few hundred such operations a year. By the '80s the number had grown to approximately 3,000. And in 2005, the last year of collected data, there were more than 50,000 SWAT operations. Today's count is surely much higher.

Balko's book offers a depressingly abundant supply of all-too-real examples of city and county police officers shooting innocent citizens, getting shot themselves, dispatching beloved family pets, doing major damage to private dwellings, shredding the Constitution, souring relations between police and community, and scarring families for life.

Chief Stamper specifically mentions the grenade that severely injured Baby Bou Bou, whom we discussed here.

[...]how to reverse the militarization trend? As Seattle's police chief during the World Trade Organization's 1999 "Battle in Seattle," and acutely aware of my own unwise reliance on militarized tactics, I realize just how difficult the task will be. But that should not stop us. Here are five steps that can help us turn things around.

  1. Residents of cities across the country must rise up and reclaim their police departments.
  2. Sustained social and political pressure for demilitarization is essential.
  3. Local political jurisdictions must implement independent citizen oversight of police practices.
  4. It is vital that all law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with their communities, set and enforce rigorous standards for the selection, training, and systematic retraining of SWAT officers and their leaders.
  5. End the drug war.

We discussed that last point just the other day.

British Medical Journal Calls for Legalizing All Drugs 68 comments

AlterNet reports

Embracing a harm reduction and public health perspective, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals has released a signed editorial calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of currently illegal drugs.

In an editorial [May 10] entitled Drugs Should Be Legalized, Regulated, and Taxed, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, notes that under drug prohibition, the global trade "fuels organized crime and human misery", and asks, "Why should it not instead fund public services?"

Citing an opinion piece[1] in the same issue of the BMJ from British members of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse, Godlee notes that in the United Kingdom (as in the United States) "vast sums are spent prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of drugs into cities" while that money would be much better "spent on quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child protection". Under legalization, "revenues could be diverted from criminal gangs into government coffers", she writes.

Godlee notes that the global drug prohibition consensus is fraying around the edges, and points to the example of Portugal, which decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. There, drug use remains in line with levels in other European countries, but the harms associated with drug use under prohibition have decreased dramatically, particularly in terms of fatal drug overdoses and the spread of injection drug-related infectious disease.

[1] Bad link in TFA; corrected in TFS.

Previous: Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization


Original Submission

The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA 157 comments

This Bold Plan to Fight Opioid Overdoses Could Save Lives--But Some Conservatives Think It's "Immoral"

With Ohio beset by a massive public health around opioid use and overdoses--more than 4,000 Ohioans died of opioid overdoses in 2016--the Cleveland Plain Dealer sent travel editor Susan Glaser to Amsterdam in search of innovative approaches to the problem. While there, she rediscovered Holland's long-standing, radical, and highly effective response to heroin addiction and properly asked whether it might be applied to good effect here.

The difference in drug-related death rates between the two countries is staggering. In the U.S., the drug overdose death rate is 245 per million, nearly twice the rate of its nearest competitor, Sweden, which came in second with 124 per million. But in Holland, the number is a vanishingly small 11 per million. In other words, Americans are more than 20 times more likely to die of drug overdoses than the Dutch.

For Plain Dealer readers, the figures that really hit home are the number of state overdose deaths compared to Holland. Ohio, with just under 12 million people, saw 4,050 drug overdose deaths in 2016; the Netherlands, with 17 million people, saw only 235.

What's the difference? The Dutch government provides free heroin to several score [where a score=20] hardcore heroin addicts and has been doing so for the past 20 years. Public health experts there say that in addition to lowering crime rates and improving the quality of life for users, the program is one reason overdose death rates there are so low. And the model could be applied here, said Amsterdam heroin clinic operator Ellen van den Hoogen.

[...]"It's not a program that is meant to help you stop," acknowledged van den Hoogen. "It keeps you addicted."

That's not a sentiment sits well with American moralizers, such as George W. Bush's drug czar, John Walters, whom Glaser consulted for the story. He suggested that providing addicts with drugs was immoral and not "real treatment," but he also resorted to lies about what the Dutch are doing.

He claimed the Dutch are "keeping people addicted for the purpose of controlling them" and that the Dutch have created "a colony of state-supported, locked-up addicts."

Your humble Ed (who rechopped the quoting, so head off to the full article(s) to see the full story) adds: of course, this is quite a contentious issue, digging deep into moralistic debate, and where clearly there's little agreed-upon objective truth and plenty of opinions. However, we are a community dotted widely round the globe, and so I'm sure there are plenty of stories of what has or has not worked in different locales.

Previous: Tens or Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Needed to Combat Opioid Crisis?
Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization


Original Submission

Do Supervised Injection Sites Work? 33 comments

What's The Evidence That Supervised Drug Injection Sites Save Lives?

Critics say supervised injection sites encourage drug use and bring crime to surrounding communities. Proponents argue that they save lives and can help people in addiction reconnect with society and get health services. [...] But what does evidence say? If the policy goal is to save lives and eventually curb opioid addiction, do these sites work? It's a tricky question to answer, although many of these sites have been studied for years.

At least 100 supervised injection sites operate around the world, mainly in Europe, Canada and Australia. Typically, drug users come in with their own drugs and are given clean needles and a clean, safe space to consume them. Staff are on hand with breathing masks and naloxone, the overdose antidote, and to provide safer injection advice and information about drug treatment and other health services.

But most have grown out of community and grassroots efforts, according to Peter Davidson, a researcher specializing in harm reduction at the University of California San Diego who is researching an underground supervised injection site [open, DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.010] [DX] in the United States. They lack big budgets for comprehensive services or for conducting high level evaluations, he says. Still, he says the research – both "the grey" and the robust - point to the benefits, especially in preventing deaths among society's most vulnerable. No death has been reported in an injection site. A 2014 review of 75 studies [DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.012] [DX] concluded such places promote safer injection conditions, reduce overdoses and increase access to health services. Supervised injection sites were associated with less outdoor drug use, and they did not appear to have any negative impacts on crime or drug use.

[...] However, in another review of studies [DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.06.018] [DX] published in August in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the researchers, criminologists from the University of South Wales in the United Kingdom, found that the evidence for supervised injection is not as strong as previously thought. Only eight studies met the researchers' standards for high quality design. And of those, the findings on the effectiveness of supervised injection were uncertain, with no effect on overdose mortality or needle sharing. "Nobody should be looking at this literature making confident conclusions in either direction," says Keith Humphreys, an addiction researcher and psychiatry professor at Stanford University who wasn't involved in the study.

Related: Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday February 13 2015, @03:52PM

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday February 13 2015, @03:52PM (#144630) Journal

    EXTREMISTS - ejected first from England, then even the Netherlands.

    The core extremist, Protestant values and heretical neo-Manichaean morality thrived like a virus - infecting later arrivals, Pole and Cambodian alike.

    It is a convenient world view for the maintenance of state and industry based on the ethic of growth: where MORE is a sign of BETTER and growth is morally valued over quality and humanity.

    --
    You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 3, Offtopic) by ikanreed on Friday February 13 2015, @04:12PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Friday February 13 2015, @04:12PM (#144638) Journal

      FYI: beliefs aren't genetic. I can be rather certain that I'm descended from at least some of those extremists(ugh you should see my family reunions), but that doesn't mean I've got their belief systems.

      • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday February 13 2015, @04:28PM

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday February 13 2015, @04:28PM (#144653) Journal

        I refer to culture - not genes.

        --
        You're betting on the pantomime horse...
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ikanreed on Friday February 13 2015, @05:04PM

          by ikanreed (3164) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:04PM (#144668) Journal

          Sure, but your topic was "descendants".

          • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Friday February 13 2015, @05:35PM

            by pnkwarhall (4558) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:35PM (#144685)

            It's pretty obvious to me (and I would hope most people) that biological "descendents" tend to share more of a heritage than just genes. In fact, the word 'descendent' is often used to describe relationships based on the passing down of ideas, traditions or other shared traits in many domains, not just people.

            --
            Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
            • (Score: 2) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday February 13 2015, @05:39PM

              by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:39PM (#144690) Journal

              I distinguish casual use of descendants from that of progeny. :-)

              --
              You're betting on the pantomime horse...
              • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Friday February 13 2015, @06:11PM

                by moondrake (2658) on Friday February 13 2015, @06:11PM (#144694)

                So..please can you share your views on the current citizens of Australia [wikipedia.org]?

                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday February 13 2015, @06:16PM

                  by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday February 13 2015, @06:16PM (#144697) Journal

                  Descendents of those who wouldn't be content under the yoke?

                  --
                  You're betting on the pantomime horse...
                • (Score: 1) by BK on Friday February 13 2015, @10:07PM

                  by BK (4868) on Friday February 13 2015, @10:07PM (#144756)

                  So..please can you share your views on the current citizens of Australia ?

                  Not remotely! Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows! And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals...

                  Classic... [youtube.com]

                  --
                  ...but you HAVE heard of me.
                • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Friday February 13 2015, @10:16PM

                  by sjames (2882) on Friday February 13 2015, @10:16PM (#144757) Journal

                  Let's see, not over fond of titles and other tall poppies. Not over fond of being told what to do. The sort of things that could get you branded (however unfairly) as a criminal at one time.

            • (Score: 1, Troll) by ikanreed on Friday February 13 2015, @07:34PM

              by ikanreed (3164) on Friday February 13 2015, @07:34PM (#144714) Journal

              Sure, but the implication was there, and I hope you can I understand how I misunderstood you.

              • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Saturday February 14 2015, @03:23AM

                by pnkwarhall (4558) on Saturday February 14 2015, @03:23AM (#144846)

                I understand your point about beliefs (/culture/mores/etc) not being passed down in the same manner as genes. But your use of the word "beliefs" suggests that your referring to something internal to an individual. An individual's belief is, of course, internal to him, but these beliefs tend to be small but contributing parts of much greater wholes. You may maintain that you don't share the POVs of the "extremist" family members you mention, but I would almost guarantee that you share more "beliefs" and cultural similarities w/ one of them than someone picked at random from the world population.

                Society/Culture pass on tons of data -- enough that the nature/nurture debate is still very much alive. You're the "progeny" of many people that you don't have a blood connection with, or even know about!

                --
                Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Friday February 13 2015, @10:31PM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday February 13 2015, @10:31PM (#144760) Journal

            Uhhhh....isn't culture passed down? And one thing I've noticed is sadly Americans really do not like anybody that needs help, especially men. I saw a study where nearly 50% of homeless men have brain injuries, yet you will hear endless talk about how those mentally handicapped people are nothing but junkies or bums, how they should pull themselves up by their boot straps...like they can just magically rewire their brains to route around the damage!

            I find it depressing as hell but here in the USA we have too damned many that have a serious crab bucket mentality,people that will actively vote and support those that have agendas completely opposed to their well being as long as it hurts "the other" equally or worse. Be it bums or "welfare queens", medical care for the poor or child care for single moms, doesn't matter how many studies have shown these programs have some of the lowest rates of cheating and some of the highest returns on investment when it comes to lifting people out of poverty or keeping them out of the ER, it doesn't matter because as long as one.single.person. out there could have "scammed the system"? Then its ALL bad and should be abolished!

            I wish we could do something as sensible as what Portugal did but that would mean not treating the addicts as stereotypes but as people and we just can't have that. Hell a billion studies have shown pot is less harmful in every way than booze and prescription meds and look at how much it has taken just to get a handful of states to legalize pot, I seriously doubt I'll live long enough to see it happen nationwide. I wish I could believe its just propaganda from this or that party that keeps these stereotypes and hatred alive, that keeps people against people based on color or status or religion, but I just can't. Instead I keep thinking of the scene from Mississippi Burning where Hackman tells the story of his dad poisoning the mule of his black neighbor, justifying it as "if you can't be better than a nigger son, who can you be better than?". Its like we just can't be happy here unless we are "better" than somebody else and I find that just fucking depressing.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
            • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @11:23PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @11:23PM (#144784)

              I once saw a presentation on child development on educational TV.
              There was a simple game with 2 kids and a checkerboard.
              To earn a piece of candy, you had to get the single checker on the board to the opposite end of the board, with the kids alternating turns moving the checker.

              European kids would help the "opposition" by continuing to move the checker in 1 direction until it had reached that edge, then they reversed the direction.
              Each European kid came away with a pile of candy.

              The USA kids would do everything possible to prevent the other kid from "scoring".
              No American kids got a single piece of candy.

              The kids couldn't have been over 6 years old--maybe even 5.
              Not only does it exist, it's ingrained early.

              -- gewg_

              • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14 2015, @12:11AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14 2015, @12:11AM (#144805)

                Gonna throw up a "CITATION NEEDED". I'd be willing to bed that those "results" were the result of confirmation bias and a limited sample size.

                Also, in order for the children to collude like that to get as much candy as possible requires some level of abstract thinking on both children. Of course age 5-6 is right smack in the middle of the time human children begin to gain the ability to think abstractly. So some children will be capable of seeing how to get the most candy and other will not simply due to what point they are in mental development.

                Also, how was the game instructed to both children? Did the same person give the same instructions to both groups using the same script? Were there different languages where differences could make things more or less clear to the children? I can easily see some children misunderstanding and assume the game worked like a regular game of checkers where there is a winner and a loser and both children being winners is not an option..

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday February 13 2015, @04:19PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday February 13 2015, @04:19PM (#144647)

      I'm Portuguese and can attest to the veracity of this story.

      However, the attempt to create assisted-injection facilities (like in Scandinavia, where junkies could get shots for free in hygiene and safety) never took of. The right-wing pulled the usual moralistic bullshit and people just went on for the ride. The masses tend to be too emotional and not a little bit rational, and the right-wing masters the manipulation of this. I guess it was better to have junkies robbing people on the street to score heroin and then shooting themselves in front of children. Fortunately, this doesn't happen any more, but in the 80's and 90's it was a nightmare.

      One of the most vocal opponents of the decriminalisation was a right-wing douche bag named Paulo Portas. By that time he went on a campaign around the world telling everybody that Portugal would become a shit hole of drug-tourism. Of course, it didn't happen, quite the opposite. The only thing he managed to do was to embarrass his country everywhere, I guess like any good god-fearing right-wing patriot should.

      He's our current Vice-Prime-Minister, now. He keeps embarrassing my country.

      It's funny that, when the right-wing won the last elections they managed to destroy everything they could get their hands on. But they didn't touch the abortion and the drug-decriminalisation laws, like they always said they would. I know why. The country is already in a social catastrophe, and reverting these two laws would make the State costs skyrocket. They're stupid, but not THAT stupid.

      I'm waiting for cannabis to be legalised and stop this head-in-the-sand hypocrisy. It will happen, eventually. But I'm not holding my breath.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by gnuman on Friday February 13 2015, @05:11PM

        by gnuman (5013) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:11PM (#144674)

        But they didn't touch the abortion and the drug-decriminalisation laws, like they always said they would.

        That's how politicians fly - by the public opinion polls. They will try to sway public opinion every way they can so it matches their views. But they will not commit political suicide by going against it.

        If significant amount of people wanted to criminalize abortion and screw over the junkies, that's what would happen. But no one wants that anymore, so politicians drop it. As an example, look at US conservatives and the gay marriage laws. No one talks about gay marriage anymore, because it doesn't affect anyone. Republicans love gays! But when there was a choice to be made, it was completely different.

        Conservatives, generally, will try to keep policies they think are "correct" to keep the status quo going. Even if it makes no sense. That's why they love police states.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Friday February 13 2015, @07:04PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 13 2015, @07:04PM (#144709) Journal

          Conservatives, generally, will try to keep policies they think are "correct" to keep the status quo going. Even if it makes no sense. That's why they love police states.

          Lots of people like to force others to do what is correct, even if it makes no sense. It's not a conservative-only thing. That's why they love police states.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by aiwarrior on Friday February 13 2015, @05:29PM

        by aiwarrior (1812) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:29PM (#144682) Journal

        I am Portuguese and I do think your are severely biased in your statements. Plus lots of things are omitted in this article.

        First, refuting your argument: As you state correctly Paulo Portas is currently the vice prime minister and I have never heard of any kind of talk regarding the inversion of the current drug policies on this legislature. The shooting booths didn't go ahead because the Portuguese society was not ready for the idea of the state sponsoring facilities and actual drugs to drug addicts.

        You certainly do not represent the majority of Portuguese opinion, as after that policy failed to be enacted other governments from the original party have not revived the policy. It was very controversial at the time and you dismissed it in a biased way as simple right leaning propaganda. You are likely an urbanite and I would invite you to go to the more left leaning but rural parts of the country(south of Tejo) and ask around the opinion of those people on having a drug consumption facility in their village. Plus, as the country is politically fairly polarized in north and south, with the north being more right and south generally more left leaning, I also would doubt there would be much support for drug use facilities of the type that were discussed at the time.

        Actually the current justice minister, said that she thinks complete depenalization http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/justice-minister-calls-for-light-drug-legalisation-pm-pulls-rug/33951/ [theportugalnews.com] is the way to go. This, further debunks your right wing propaganda statements because the current government is right wing. Plus, you seem to apply the anglo saxonic right wing concept to Portugal and I dare-say southern Europe countries, which is very uninformative for this anglo-saxonic site.

        Related to the article, there is slight omission. Drugs in Portugal are NOT legal. Selling drugs is a crime. What is not penalized is the consumption, thus tackling the problem of marginalization of drug addicts. So what is the line, one might ask. The line is, there is a very clearly defined maximum amount you can have on your person for consumption. If you exceed that amount it is considered drug trafficking and you are committing a crime that lands you in jail. This also extends to planting or producing.

        One may think it "funny" that you can buy but you can't sell but is a very pragmatic both in terms of health concerns and political stance against drugs.

        My personal opinion is that of the justice minister, it should be completely legalized although there is the strong possibility of drug tourism in Portugal. If the Netherlands became a drug tourism destination, a touristic country like Portugal would have probably the same outcome. In my perspective the drug tourism aspect of legalization was negative for Netherlands, so much so, that foreigner/s cannot buy drugs in some cities as the local people can. Maastricht is such a city (I have been there).

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday February 13 2015, @06:14PM

          by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday February 13 2015, @06:14PM (#144696)

          I am Portuguese and I do think your are severely biased in your statements.

          You are right, I'm severely biased. This is a free forum. I don't have to be neutral, or even reasonable. Paulo Portas, the current Portuguese government and the right-wing in general make want to puke my guts out. So every chance I have to stick it to them, I do.

          You certainly do not represent the majority of Portuguese opinion

          Isn't that pretty obvious in my comment? If I did, we wouldn't have a right-wing government, would we?

          You are likely an urbanite and I would invite you to go to the more left leaning but rural parts of the country(south of Tejo) and ask around the opinion of those people on having a drug consumption facility in their village.

          Yes, I'm an urbanite. Is that a sin? Anyway, the vast majority of the Portuguese population is highly concentrated in coastal cities. I bet most of the Communist old men in rural Alentejo disapprove of gay marriage (but not their grandchildren, though). However, it was approved in the Parliament with the votes of the whole Left, including the Communist Party.

          Actually the current justice minister, said that she thinks complete depenalization is the way to go

          I approve what the Justice Minister said. May I remind you it was a personal opinion, and she was severely diced for saying it? It's funny that the Prime Minister had to come and publicly contradict her, but he has always kept quiet about the numerous fuck-ups that have been happening on her watch. Anyway, most right-wing people I know, even those who smoke hash, strongly oppose to drug legalisation.

          Related to the article, there is slight omission. Drugs in Portugal are NOT legal. Selling drugs is a crime. What is not penalized is the consumption, thus tackling the problem of marginalization of drug addicts. So what is the line, one might ask. The line is, there is a very clearly defined maximum amount you can have on your person for consumption. If you exceed that amount it is considered drug trafficking and you are committing a crime that lands you in jail. This also extends to planting or producing.

          One may think it "funny" that you can buy but you can't sell but is a very pragmatic both in terms of health concerns and political stance against drugs.

          To me, it's absurd. What it does is feeding criminal organisations with shitloads of money. Marijuana should be legalised and its production and distribution heavily regulated, like the other legal drugs, tobacco and alcohol (which, by the way, cause a lot more damage than cannabis ever did).

          My personal opinion is that of the justice minister, it should be completely legalized although there is the strong possibility of drug tourism in Portugal. If the Netherlands became a drug tourism destination, a touristic country like Portugal would have probably the same outcome.

          Yes, that risk exists. However, if many countries do the same move, there will be no incentive for anyone to travel anywhere to smoke a joint.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Silentknyght on Friday February 13 2015, @08:52PM

            by Silentknyght (1905) on Friday February 13 2015, @08:52PM (#144736)

            I appreciate the back-and-forth from people who actually have informed opinions. Yay soylentnews. :)

          • (Score: 1) by mmarujo on Friday February 20 2015, @12:52PM

            by mmarujo (347) on Friday February 20 2015, @12:52PM (#147381)

            My personal opinion is that of the justice minister, it should be completely legalized although there is the strong possibility of drug tourism in Portugal. If the Netherlands became a drug tourism destination, a touristic country like Portugal would have probably the same outcome.

            Yes, that risk exists. However, if many countries do the same move, there will be no incentive for anyone to travel anywhere to smoke a joint.

            I never understood the "drug tourism" point of view as opposed as the Wine Tourism, TV keeps telling us is really good, and should be encouraged!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @03:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @03:57PM (#144632)

    The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect: more crime, more addicts; but when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass--and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example.

    This is the key point. Strong results can turn critics into converts.

  • (Score: 3, Redundant) by Nuke on Friday February 13 2015, @04:15PM

    by Nuke (3162) on Friday February 13 2015, @04:15PM (#144639)
    FTFA :-

    The opposite of addiction is not sobriety.

    The opposite of criminal laws is not secure housing and subsidised jobs. They are not mutually exclusive.

    It is human connection

    I get suspicious when I hear soundbites like that. WTF does that mean?

    just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop [smoking by] using nicotine patches

    The point being? Is 17.7 supposed to be suprisingly high, suprisingly low, or suprisingly exactly what we would expect?

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @04:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @04:23PM (#144650)

      just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop [smoking by] using nicotine patches

      The point being? Is 17.7 supposed to be suprisingly high, suprisingly low, or suprisingly exactly what we would expect?

      Since the percentage is preceded by "just", it's supposed to be low.

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday February 13 2015, @05:05PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:05PM (#144669)

      The "human connection" part probably refers to the actual experiment that is referred to in TFS where rats were given a choice between an addictive drug and a healthy, interesting environment and mainly preferred the healthy environment and avoided the drugs.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by BK on Friday February 13 2015, @05:08PM

      by BK (4868) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:08PM (#144673)

      The opposite of addiction is not sobriety.

      The opposite of criminal laws is not secure housing and subsidized jobs. They are not mutually exclusive.

      This is a key point. Decriminalization might save money, but there is no guarantee as to where that money would be spent. In the US, I can't think of a political group capable of staying the course on something like this for more than a couple of years. The Democrats would try to roll it into one of their *big [wikipedia.org] programs [wikipedia.org]*. The Republicans would probably try to build a carrier... or save the Warthog [jalopnik.com] or try to fix the F-35 [reuters.com] or something. The LibertariansTea Party would just want a refund since the national government shouldn't be involved [lp.org] in such things.

      In the end, the money would vanish [npr.org]...

      --
      ...but you HAVE heard of me.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @07:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @07:38PM (#144717)
        The warthog link says it is cheap and effective (for close air-support). The theory advanced in the linked article is that it is too cheap to maintain, and thus, is not a "job creator".
        • (Score: 1) by BK on Friday February 13 2015, @09:57PM

          by BK (4868) on Friday February 13 2015, @09:57PM (#144754)

          Granted. But to have it AND have whatever else the USAF wants to waste money on this week costs more than just having one or the other.

          --
          ...but you HAVE heard of me.
    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by frojack on Friday February 13 2015, @09:48PM

      by frojack (1554) on Friday February 13 2015, @09:48PM (#144751) Journal

      Is there any real evidence that ADDICTION has been cut at all?

      It seems to me they are controlling crime, but not addiction, since the state is now supplying the drugs.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 4, Touché) by BK on Friday February 13 2015, @09:55PM

        by BK (4868) on Friday February 13 2015, @09:55PM (#144753)

        Is there any real evidence that ADDICTION has been cut at all?

        It seems to me they are controlling crime, but not addiction, since the state is now supplying the drugs.

        Is that a problem? To rephrase, if you were responsible for the choice, would you prefer to have addiction with or without associated criminal behavior?

        --
        ...but you HAVE heard of me.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by zpma on Friday February 13 2015, @11:58PM

        by zpma (1534) on Friday February 13 2015, @11:58PM (#144800)

        Is there any real evidence that ADDICTION has been cut at all?

        For what it is worth you can read the report from the "General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD)" whose mission "is to promote the redution of use of psychoactive substances, the prevention of addictive behaviours and the decreasing of dependencies", which points in the direction of a reduction in addiction. http://www.sicad.pt/BK/EstatisticaInvestigacao/Documents/SinopseEstatistica2012_EN.pdf [sicad.pt]

        Google reasonably translates the page with the official policy on drugs, (at http://www.sicad.pt/PT/PoliticaPortuguesa/SitePages/Home%20Page.aspx [sicad.pt] )

        Googling for "drug use in portugal since decriminalization" also provides information in the same direction.

        It seems to me they are controlling crime, but not addiction, since the state is now supplying the drugs.

        Again: Decriminalizing is not legalizing! The only drug supplied by the state is metadone, to those that accept a treatment program.

        Such treatment is supposed to be "offered" to anyone caught with illegal substances.

    • (Score: 2) by naubol on Saturday February 14 2015, @06:30AM

      by naubol (1918) on Saturday February 14 2015, @06:30AM (#144879)

      It is human connection

      I get suspicious when I hear soundbites like that. WTF does that mean?

      That you could use some yourself...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @04:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @04:17PM (#144643)

    Couldn't the same lesson already be learned from the American experiment of banning the drug ethanol?

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @05:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @05:07PM (#144671)

      We should try that around here too.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @05:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13 2015, @05:29PM (#144683)

      Yes, but of course, it is not.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by digitalaudiorock on Saturday February 14 2015, @01:56AM

      by digitalaudiorock (688) on Saturday February 14 2015, @01:56AM (#144836)

      Amazing right? It took what...like 10 years for us to figure out that alcohol prohibition did nothing aside from a) creating a lucrative black market with all the crime and death that goes along with it, and b) to turn otherwise upstanding citizens into "criminals". Yet we've spent the last 60 or more years proving all that over and over again, to the point where major parts of the world are controlled by that black market, and to the point where the U.S. has more people in prison per-capita than the Soviet Union in Stalen's time...all the while pretending we're getting somewhere.

      All the arguments I hear supporting drug prohibition amount to no more than "b-b-b-but...it's wrong!"...with no regard for the fact that the laws not only do no good, but make everything involved 1000 times worse at 1000 times the cost. Pure craziness.

      You could make the same pointless arguments for doing away with "safe haven" laws, which for all intents and purposed decriminalize child abandonment. For some reason, in that case, there seems to be the wisdom that the only thing with a worse outcome than allowing that sort of thing is in fact to attempt to criminalize it. Yet somehow in the drug war we take some retarded moral high ground despite the prooven failures.

      Don't get me started...

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14 2015, @08:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 14 2015, @08:39PM (#145014)

        Webb--Kenyon Act passed - 1913
        (Regulated interstate transport of alcoholic beverages.)
        18th Amendment ratified - January 16, 1919
        Volstead Act passed - October 28, 1919
        Prohibition starts - January 17, 1920
        21st Amendment ratified* - December 5, 1933

        * The only amendment to have ever been ratified by state conventions.
        (North Carolina and South Carolina rejected it, of course.)
        Control was turned over to the individual states.
        (Some continued to stay "dry" for many years.)

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by nicdoye on Friday February 13 2015, @04:33PM

    by nicdoye (3908) on Friday February 13 2015, @04:33PM (#144655) Homepage

    Like I'm ever going to believe anything Hari says. The man has been shown to be a liar, plagiarist and used a sockpuppet account on Wikipedia to defame other journalists (including Cristina Odone, although he has finally apologised to her).

    --
    I code because I can
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Friday February 13 2015, @05:38PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Friday February 13 2015, @05:38PM (#144687) Journal

    This is from a while back, but it is amazing how elegantly Glenn Greenwald calls out the former Bush Drug Czar as an immoral evil SOB. It was a debate on the legalization of all drugs and GG uses the Portugal data to great effect, but also delves into the negative effects the drug war has had on the Constitution while being wholly ineffective and immensely expensive:

    https://vimeo.com/32110912 [vimeo.com]

    The tear down of the Bush Drug Czar comes during a Q&A session pretty deep into it and I don't have the time mark, but the debate as a whole is a thing of beauty.