Here are a few of the salient points. Click the link for the rest of this excellent article.
- More people every day are arrested for possession of drugs than are arrested for aggravated assault, burglary, vandalism, forcible rape and murder combined.
- It gets even crazier. We’re at the point where a 13-year-old girl, an honors student, can be strip-searched in her school on suspicion of having ibuprofen (the equivalent of Advil), as the New York Times reported last month. Another middle school suspended a kid for having what they thought were drugs, but were really Skittles.
- Despite our Draconian drug laws, the U.S. has the highest level of illegal cocaine and marijuana use out of 17 advanced countries included in a survey conducted about a year ago. Over 16 percent of Americans have used cocaine. The second highest usage rate was New Zealand, with 4.3 percent.
- In 2001, Portugal, facing similar evidence of failure in their fight against drugs and considerably higher rates of drug use than other similar countries, did something drastic – they decriminalized all drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Drug possession and use is still prohibited, but violations are dealt with entirely outside the realm of criminal prosecution. Instead, each case is managed administratively and in isolation.
- Portugal now has the lowest rates of drug use in all of the European Union, crime rates have decreased and there is a near-consensus about the resounding success of their decision to decriminalize drugs across the board. By virtually every empirical metric, conditions have improved. Nobody wants to return to the days of strict prohibition.