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The Lure of Legal Drugs

In 2001 Portugal, facing one of the most serious drug problems in Europe, decided to decriminalize drug possession, including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. People caught with small quantities of drugs were no longer sent to prison; they were sent to rehab. Since then, drug use in the country has declined, along with the HIV infection rate from addicts sharing dirty needles. And the number of people seeking drug treatment has soared. Portugal’s drug liberalization has helped re-assimilate problem drug users into society. Meanwhile, in the U.K., the perfectly legal drug khat is being blamed for the continued isolation of the country’s Somali immigrant population. Watch this space for a future discussion of drug decriminalization in the U.S. [%comments]