Legalising drugs

We’re now ten years on from Portugal legalising drugs and all the evidence says it works. Drug use levels have plunged.

This has interesting implications for drug legislation in the United Kingdom because it shows that a more progressive attitude to drugs is clearly the way forward.

It’s not that Portugal have removed all drug laws – it is still illegal to be a drug dealer. But what they have done is switched from an attitude of punishing drug users, to an attitude of helping them overcome their addiction and giving them the support they need.

We should do the same.

Now of course, the first thing most people will say is “that’s a crazy idea, you can’t legalise doing drugs because doing drugs is wrong.” These people often drink alcohol and coffee as well as often smoking cigarettes as well. But those don’t count, even though it has been shown that alcohol is more dangerous than ecstasy.

But, you don’t even have to agree that it is the right thing to do to legalise drugs. The bar is far lower than that. All you have to agree is that the current method of dealing with drugs has failed. And it has. Drug use is ubiquitous with modern society. Everyone who has gone through the university system in the past few decades has at least tried drugs, don’t kid yourself that that isn’t the case.

What is the result of such widespread drug use? Massive amounts of crime! As DrugScore point out, an addict needs £15,000-30,000 a year to feed their habit and as a result estimate the value of goods stolen each year could be over £2,000,000,000. That is more zeros than there are people in the UK. Do the maths – that is £30 a year each of us are paying. The story is the same in the US – 17% of prisoners are in there because of of drug related crime[1].

Much of this could be solved by relaxing drug laws. Best of all, it’s been proven to work in Portugal. Of course, chances are that anyone reading my blog already knows this.



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 12:01 pm and is filed under Religion & Politics, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.