Since 2001, drug users in Portugal are no longer put through the criminal justice system. Yes, a radical reform in the way their system was set up has seen no increase in drug use in Portugal since the reforms were introduced.
Dr Di Natale, the leader of The Greens party in Australia is proposing Australia consider re-inventing it’s approach more pragmatically to counter a “failed” Australian drug penalty and prison system.
The current mentality of the Australian system is
– Individuals [in Australia] who get into trouble with their drug are subject to criminal penalties including fines and gaol time.
The shift in thought would be to adopt a similar mentality to Portugal’s set up which is
– Individuals who get get in trouble with drugs, front a health panel which gets them into treatment and helps them with other things like housing and employment support.
Liberal member for Murray Sharman Stone agree Australia’s current drug policy is not working. She quoted to The Age, “How many more babies have to be born brain-damaged, how many more women have to be killed by their intimate partners, we have two a week being killed right now, we had that horrific case of that mother in Brisbane where a number of those children were killed,”
The discussion comes only a matter of days after US President Barrack Obama also voiced his concerns on their current system. The US prison system has been bloated with minor offenders and the US government are spending about $80 billion annually on keeping people in gaols.
Do you believe adopting a Portuguese style drug law change would work?