As Portugal’s drug policy has shown, decriminalization is a viable answer to the drug question. Changing our perspective and seeing drug addictions as a social and health problem – not a criminal problem is the first step. With a decriminalization of drugs in the U.S. we will save more money, drug abuse would drop, drug related violence would begin to cease, HIV transmission and other diseases would not spread as greatly as they are now. The problem is the current value system the U.S. government believes in. Decriminalization is equated with more drug abuse and drug violence. It is seen to condone drug use. If the public became more educated in the drug policies of other countries such as Portugal, they would most likely be more welcoming to a decriminalization policy. An educated public could pressure the government to change the drug policy. It’s interesting that the United States hasn’t learned any lessons from the 14 years of Prohibition, in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was prohibited (Thornton, 1991). Crime increased, especially organized crime, and alcohol consumption nationwide did not cease, or even decrease (Thornton, 1991). Eventually Prohibition was repealed, and now the sale of alcohol is regulated by the government and taxed significantly (Thornton, 1991). It seems the War on Drugs has a counterpart in Prohibition, and only huge public support of decriminalization will pressure changes to the current U.S. policy on drugs. CONTINUE TO LAST PAGE FOR REFERENCES
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