Legal Alternative

When Portugal faced one of the world’s worst drug epidemics in the 1990s, its government responded by treating drug use and possession as a medical issue, not a crime.
 
While the 2001 law that decriminalized drug use still sends dealers to prison, anyone caught with less than 10 days worth of drugs is sent to mandatory medical treatment. Today, Lisbon sees around 2,500 drug cases annually, a 75% drop from the 1990s. And Portugal’s overall drug-related death rate is 5 times lower than the European Union average.
 
“It’s cheaper to treat people than to incarcerate them,” says sociologist Nuno Cabaz.
 
Source: NPR

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