BY Beth Comery
We could keep locking people up, but maybe it’s finally time for a different approach. The Brown University Political Theory Project will host a forum Thursday to discuss the possibility of ending the futile and failed war on drugs. And guess what, it’s kind of been done already and we can analyze the results.
In July 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs, adopting a policy that has since become increasingly popular. Some studies seem to indicate no significant increase in usage since decriminalization; and that deaths, sexually transmitted diseases, and other drug-related externalities have decreased significantly. Should the United States adopt a similar policy?
Scientific American reported on the ‘experiment’ in Portugal,
Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006, according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.
Ten years later? Forbes reports that drug use is down by half. Constitutional law attorney Glenn Greenwald and Bush’s ‘Drug Czar’ John P. Walters will present different perspectives on this critical issue. (The venue has been changed to Salomon 101. Walk through Faunce Arch at 75 Waterman Street. Turn right at the bear.)
Free and open to the public, 4pm to 6pm, Thursday, November 10, Salomon Hall 101, Waterman at Brown Street