Portugal’s decade old drug experiment There is no question but that we do have to re-think our current laws on drugs. Without a doubt Portugal’s experiment offers some healthy alternatives. What can not be argued with is a 50% percent reduction in the addict population would send an economic shock wave through the nation. Think of all those men and women whose well being is tied to fighting the war on drugs and keeping prison beds full.
Now think in terms of well over 30,000 men, women and children that have been murdered in Mexico as a result of the competition associated with trying to meet the demands of the illegal North American drug market. Millions of men, women and children have been or are incarcerated for drug or drug motivated crimes. Thousands upon thousands of children are born destined for a life of abuse, addiction and incarceration not because they are bad but their circumstances leave them the with precious few alternatives.
Drugs are not the problem and to focus on them avoids the real issues of which all addictions are the symptoms. I have only known of two men that have captured the essence of addictions. One is Dr. Gabor Mate in his book The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictions and The Hollow Men By T. S. Elliot. That does not mean there is no other literature on the subject.
Having said that, often it means that the physical aspect of the addiction has to be dealt with prior to dealing with the psychological issues that trigger the addictive process. However, neither the laws nor the required introspection will ever be addressed in my life time because there are too but too many special interest groups whose financial well being and very existence is tied to maintaining the current situation.