LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Looking for honesty and common sense

By Rusty White | Published Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ten years after decriminalization, drug abuse is down by half in Portugal.

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.

“Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalize drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, president of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, in a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” – those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users – had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

Other factors had also played their part, however, Goulao, a medical doctor, added.

“This development can not only be attributed to decriminalization but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.”

Many of these innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem.

Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.

None of this is possible when waging a war.

While more and more countries around the world and states in our own country are refusing to follow our known failure called the War on Drugs, why can’t we accept this reality?

Why do we, the taxpayers and citizens, continue to be forced to waste our tax dollars and limited resources while needlessly destroying families?

How many billions of our taxpayer dollars would be saved by reducing the number of those who have ” no victims or violence” in their “supposed crimes” who are in our jails, prisons and courts, in addition to those on probation whose families are on welfare?

At the same time, we could restore the trust and respect for those in our legal and enforcement branches of government. When is enough, enough?

There has to be a better way. Help us find it!

Rusty White
Bridgeport

12 Responses to “Looking for honesty and common sense”

  1. Rusty White says:

    In Colorado the first months sales for marijuana was “OVER 14 MILLION” with over 2.9 “Million” going to the cities and state in taxes! This does not include the saving by police and courts and their citizen’s tax dollars that would have been “wasted” if not for common sense legalization, nor the families that would have been terrorized and destroyed!

    So with the truth and common sense coming to light around the world and in our own country, “WHY” are we still feeding upon our citizens here in Wise County and in Texas? Why are our citizens and our tax dollars still being “forced” to feed this known failure called the war on drugs? When will our tax dollars and limited resources as well as our courts, jails ,prisons, probation etc.. be utilized just for those that “do” have victims and violence in their crimes instead of being used against those that “do not” have victims and violence in their “supposed” crimes?

    Are the citizens in other states and countries more deserving of fair and honest treatment than our own? When change does finally come how will we apologize and give back the futures, lives and families that are “STILL” being needlessly violated and torn apart???

  2. Here we go again… The world according to Rusty.

    You really do live in a haze, don’t you.

  3. Rusty White says:

    Bart,

    The numbers “don’t” Lies, do they??? If you have some “documented” proof otherwise, POST IT, GAME????

  4. says:

    Read for yourself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal

    This above (web site) information DOES support the decimialization of use.

    It DOES NOT suppport that fewer individuals are useing drugs (SEE BELOW):
    Reported lifetime use of “all illicit drugs” increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine use more than doubled, from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy nearly doubled from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin increased from 0.7% to 1.1%[14] It has been proposed that this effect may have been related to the candor of interviewees, who may have been inclined to answer more truthfully due to a reduction in the stigma associated with drug use.[15] However, during the same period, the use of heroin and cannabis also increased in Spain and Italy, where drugs for personal use was decriminalised many years earlier than in Portugal [15][16] while the use of Cannabis and heroin decreased in the rest of Western Europe.[17][18]

    Below are the current consequences for drug use.

    Fines, ranging from €25 to €150. These figures are based on the Portuguese minimum wage of about €485 (Banco de Portugal, 2001) and translate into hours of work lost.
    Suspension of the right to practice if the user has a licensed profession (e.g. medical doctor, taxi driver) and may endanger another person or someone’s possessions.
    Ban on visiting certain places (e.g. specific discothèques)
    Ban on associating with specific other persons.
    Foreign travel ban……………………………..HOW ABOUT THIS.
    Requirement to report periodically to the committee.
    Withdrawal of the right to carry a gun.
    Confiscation of personal possessions………………THIS IS GREAT!
    Cessation of subsidies or allowances that a person receives from a public agency…………………………..THIS IS EVEN BETTER!!!!

    Not a criminal act….YES

    Better…..NOT SO MUCH.

  5. Rusty White says:

    Lou,

    THANK YOU!!! While you have some “DOCUMENTED” facts, the reality is families are “NO LONGER” targets for abuse, are they??? They are treating drug use as a “HEALTH PROBLEM” instead of a criminal one, correct?? How many saving to the tax payers is happening, how many homes and families are “NOT” being terrorized and innocent lives being lost??? How many no longer have their vehicles impounded for drug items, how much money is left for food and housing for their young???

    How many of their TAX DOLLARS are being wasted on those that have “no victims or violence” in their supposed crimes? How many tax dollars do they waste locking mothers and fathers away from their children??? TIME FOR COMMON SENSE AND TRUTH TO RULE, PERIOD!!!

    THANK YOU!!!

  6. Rusty White says:

    Sadly the one thing that keeps our citizens from being free from terrorist acts, is the ability for those who have “manipulated” the failure known as war on drugs into “self serving” agendas and power!!! Even sadder is the “FACT” one day they will answer for their wrongs, and just like the guards at the death camps in WW2, I was just following orders WILL NOT WORK, PERIOD!!!!

    I still have hope that those in “power” will realize the END IS NEAR, and each and “EVERY ONE” will be seen for where they stood!!! At the very least the “honest ones” will have the heart and honesty to admit their mistakes, the “others” get what they deserve!!!!

  7. Rusty White says:

    Lou,

    I forgot to bring up the Netherlands where marijuana use is accepted not legal, yet their teen use is HALF what ours is! I wish my skills on this computer where better, many times what I am trying to say doesn’t come out like I want it to!:) But over the many years they have gotten better!:) I wish WCM had a like or dislike feature, thereby giving our citizens a way to vote on these issues.

    The bottom line for those of us at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition http://www.leap.cc is to seek the truth and common sense while ending the needless harm being done to our citizens. At the same time save our tax dollars while bringing the trust and respect back to our legal system and those serving in it.

    I invite one and all to visit our site http://www.leap.cc at the top you will see “find a speaker”. click on it and see their backgrounds and documented life times spent fighting for this failure known as the war on drugs! If you have the heart for it also google drugwar victims by drugwarrant and see the sad truth of those needlessly dying and the terrorist acts our citizens are suffering!

    There Has To Be A Better Way, help us find it!!!

  8. Scott Pierce says:

    Portugal has 11 million and America 330 million(not including 50 million illegals) Stats from Wikipedia

    Your comparing a small third world country drug problem to America’s love of drugs(including Wise county meth problem) is unbelievable.

  9. Rusty White says:

    Scott,

    Have you ever heard the phrase “per capita”, I don’t care what country finds the way out of this mess, DO YOU??? The truth and reality is all those who make choices you or I would not, are “NOT” all abusers nor drug demons out of control, FACT!! Just like all those who smoke marijuana only a small minority go on to harder drugs.

    Strange how we see the pictures of woman who let meth ruin her life in such a “supposed” short time all over. Then the teacher of the year in Springtown admits using meth “daily” for “7 YEARS”, yet was able to do her job to the point of being honored while still looking like any other “normal” teacher, FACT! Trying to claim all who do drugs are the same and will end up the same is like claiming all those who drink alcohol will become drunks, and we all know that is stupid, right?

    Do you support this known failure called the war on drugs, if so please “attempt” to justify it, using “only” truth, facts, reality and common sense, GAME??? I want my tax dollars and legal system to go after those with “victims and violence”! Not doing drug raids on those that don’t have any “victims or violence” in their “supposed crimes”! All while putting the lives of our officers and citizens of all ages in unneeded and unwarranted “life and death” situations, FOR WHAT???

    Once again I invite everyone to visit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at http://www.leap.cc and check out our speakers, many with “life time” and decorated years of service protecting and serving!

    There Has To Be A Better Way, help us find it!

  10. Rusty White says:

    Strange when you invite people to speak their mind and defend their beliefs and position “NONE” can do so??? WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU!!!!

  11. Andrew Wynn says:

    While I do not condone drug abuse and do not believe it is necessarily a victimless activity, whether criminal or not, one thing is in just about impossible to ignore: the “war on drugs” has been used as an excuse to rob Americans of their Constitutionally protected liberty and further has served as an excuse to militarize police departments across the country. I personally cannot accept the idea that law enforcement can’t keep certain contraband like cocaine from crossing the borders, but can successfully track down supposed improperly imported wood used in building Gibson guitars.

    Every time government “regulates” something, there are winners and losers. And We the People invariably end up on the losing end. I think it’s time to stop being so suspicious and fearful of the freedom of others.

  12. Rusty White says:

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the honesty, as for keeping “anything” from crossing our borders. There is not a prison or jail on this “planet” drug have been kept out of! Knowing this truth how intellectually dishonest is it to believe drugs can be kept out of the “supposed” freest country on earth?

    You are 110% correct drugs have been used as an excuse to escape the wrongful actions by “BOTH” the good guys and bad guys, FACT!!! Last time I checked NONE of us have the right to force others to live by our beliefs! Therefore condoning or not, anything used by those out side ones family is outside ones authority, is it not? As far as victims, I suggest this drug war has caused way more victims than drug use ever has, from both those that use and those that don’t!!!

    At least we are now openly talking about this challenge, THANK YOU!

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