Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons

Associated Press © 2010 The Associated Press
Dec. 26, 2010, 11:02PM

From the AP story, which appeared in several papers:

Other European countries treat drugs as a public health problem, too, but Portugal stands out as the only one that has written that approach into law. The result: More people tried drugs, but fewer ended up addicted.

Here's what happened between 2000 and 2008:

_ There were small increases in illicit drug use among adults, but decreases for adolescents and problem users, such as drug addicts and prisoners.

_ Drug-related court cases dropped 66 percent.

_ Drug-related HIV cases dropped 75 percent. In 2002, 49 percent of people with AIDS were addicts; by 2008 that number fell to 28 percent.

_ The number of regular users held steady at less than 3 percent of the population for marijuana and less than 0.3 percent for heroin and cocaine — figures which show decriminalization brought no surge in drug use.

_ The number of people treated for drug addiction rose 20 percent from 2001 to 2008.


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