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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Decriminalization Of Drugs

Decriminalization Of Drugs. When discussing the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal, Chasing the Scream states, “Nothing has to stay the same. If a dogma is not working, no matter how strong and immovable it seems, you can cast it aside and start anew” (Hari, 2015, p. 235). Discuss your thoughts on this statement as it relates to ending the “war on drugs” in the United States, and be sure to discuss and consider such topics as prohibition, decriminalization, and legalization of drugs.

Response Parameters

Initial responses are due by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET Initial posts should be 250 words in length Using APA format, please cite and reference the text and include at least one peer-reviewed article to support your post

The quote from Chasing the Scream highlights an essential aspect of drug policy: the need for adaptation and change. The “war on drugs” in the United States has been a failure, and it is time to rethink our approach. Prohibition, which criminalizes drug use, has not reduced drug consumption, nor has it addressed the social and health issues associated with drug use. Instead, it has created a thriving black market, fueled violence and corruption, and led to the disproportionate incarceration of marginalized communities.

Decriminalization, on the other hand, is a policy shift that focuses on treating drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice matter. Portugal’s experience is a prime example of the positive outcomes of decriminalization. Since the country decriminalized all drugs in 2001, drug use has not increased, but problematic drug use, HIV infections, and drug-related deaths have decreased. Decriminalization has also allowed resources to be redirected towards drug treatment and harm reduction services.

Legalization, on the other hand, is a more controversial policy approach that would remove all legal restrictions on drug production, distribution, and consumption. While legalization would eliminate the black market and reduce violence and corruption, it could also lead to increased drug use and associated harms. Therefore, legalization needs to be carefully considered and implemented, and evidence-based regulations should be in place to ensure public health and safety.

In conclusion, the statement from Chasing the Scream emphasizes the importance of changing drug policy in the United States. Decriminalization represents a positive step towards treating drug use as a public health issue, reducing the harms of prohibition, and increasing access to effective drug treatment and harm reduction services. Legalization is a more drastic policy shift that requires careful consideration and regulation to minimize any potential negative consequences. Overall, evidence-based policies that prioritize public health and safety should be at the forefront of any drug policy reform.


Hari, J. (2015). Chasing the scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs. Bloomsbury Publishing.

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