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A new study examines the state of addiction in Portugal, and whether their massive decriminalization of drugs in 2001 has helped or hurt.  Maia Szalavitz (one of the best reporters covering addiction news) examines the study in her latest article for Time Magazine which you can read at this link.  Here’s an excerpt:

For example, one opponent of marijuana decriminalization wrote in a 2009 forum in the New York Times that the policy would lead to “hundreds of billions of dollars in new medical-care costs, traffic and other accident costs, reduced worker productivity and lower educational achievements.”
But new research on Portugal’s drug policy suggests that this isn’t necessarily so. Portugal decriminalized possession of all drugs in 2001. The outcome, after nearly a decade, according to a study published in the November issue of the British Journal of Criminology: less teen drug use, fewer HIV infections, fewer AIDS cases and more drugs seized by law enforcement. Adult drug use rates did slightly increase — but this increase was not greater than that seen in nearby countries that did not change their drug policies. The use of drugs by injection declined.

And here’s a link to the study in the British Journal of Criminolgy, so you can read it yourself.

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