(ed: of course here in new zealand – seeing as our politicians have had their collective-lips firmly attached to americas’ arse since 1945 (before that it was the british we slavishly aped/bowed to/arse-kissed) – since 1945 we have followed americas’ instructions – and so have done what they do – either locked up our addicts – or even worse have got them hooked on an even more addictive/harder to kick drug than heroin – namely methadone…sometimes both in tandem..
that’s fucken smart/clever..eh..?…that’s worked a fucken treat..)
(disclaimer: i was addicted to heroin for about 20 yrs..so i do have some knowledge/expertise in the subject/issue..)
and really..!..how much longer are we just going to continue to follow americas’ dictates on what is a health issue for us..?
and one that is able to be solved through treatment – not by jailing or getting them addicted to methadone – for the rest of their lives..
and funny story..!..most heroin addicts do eventually grow out of it – they either tire of the demands of the lifestyle – or they no longer seek what heroin offers/gives..
and of course there are exceptions to every rough-rule – but that point usually comes in their med/late-30’s..
so the ideal is a twofer – to try to treat what has driven them there/to opiates in the first place – and to get them safely through to that point where they decide themselves to stop..
and that does (usually) happen…from my experience/observations of the subculture..)
Decades ago the United States and Portugal both struggled with illicit drugs and took decisive action – in diametrically opposite directions.
The US cracked down vigorously – spending billions of dollars incarcerating drug users.
In contrast Portugal undertook a monumental experiment: it decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001 – even heroin and cocaine – and unleashed a major public health campaign to tackle addiction.
Ever since in Portugal – drug addiction has been treated more as a medical challenge than as a criminal justice issue.
After more than 15 years it’s clear which approach worked better.
The US drug policy has failed spectacularly with about as many Americans dying last year of overdoses – around 64,000 – as were killed in the Vietnam – Afghanistan and Iraq Wars combined.
In contrast Portugal may be winning the war on drugs.
Today the Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin – down from 100,000 when the policy began.
The number of Portuguese dying from overdoses plunged more than 85 per cent – before rising a bit in the aftermath of the European economic crisis of recent years.
Even so Portugal’s drug mortality rate is the lowest in Western Europe – one-tenth the rate of Britain or Denmark – and about one-fiftieth of the latest number in the US.