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>Re-thinking US Drug Policy

>Here is a letter to the Palm Beach Post:

Randy Schultz’s counterpoint claims legalizing drugs in America would not end the violence on the Mexican border and fears an increase in drug usage. However, Mr. Schultz fails to take into account the successes of Portugal, where all drugs were decriminalized following years of rampant drug use, related deaths, and disease. The 2009 report shows the success Portugal experienced in the past decade with full decriminalization. While short term or experimental use of drugs increased, long-term rates of addiction dropped – with a populace increasingly willing to seek treatment programs, absent the stigma and potential prison time associated with drug use prior to decriminalization. Moreover, drug related mortality rates and newly reported cases of disease amongst addicts substantially declined since implementing the decriminalization policy. In fact, the report provides data showing “The total number of drug-related deaths has actually decreased from the pre-decriminalization year of 1999 (when it totaled close to 400) to 2006 (when the total was 290).”

Supposing legalization of drugs in America fails to eradicate 100% of the violence on the Mexican border, as Mr. Schultz claims, it will undoubtedly reduce it by significant levels. Shrinking violence from the status quo coupled with actual decreases in long-term addiction rates should be the goal of any new rational drug policy. Who could possibly argue with that?

Brad R. Schlesinger

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