Saturday, March 14, 2009

Greenwald: Decriminalizing Drugs Works

From Turkana at The Left Coaster here.

Working with the Cato Institute, Glenn Greenwald went to Portugal to study the results of that country's decriminalization of drugs. In April, he will present his findings. At Salon, he offers a brief summary:

Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.

Via Jeralyn, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano now says the Obama Administration is going to get more actively involved in battling the Mexican drug war. But Greenwald points to the obvious:

A survey of 17 countries has found that despite its punitive drug policies the United States has the highest levels of illegal cocaine and cannabis use. The study, by Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues, is based on the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and is published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

The cost of the U.S. "War on Drugs" has been estimated to be as high as $40,000,000,000 a year. That's money well burnt. . . .

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