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Apply Portugal's lessons


March 15, 2011 Letters to the Editor

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Newsday columnist Daniel Akst is right to utilize the example of Portugal's decriminalization of drugs to argue against the United States' failed — and unconstitutional — “War on Drugs” (March 11 Butler Eagle).

As Akst writes, once decriminalization occurred, rates of injection drug-related diseases such as HIV/AIDS fell along with overdoses and, importantly, rates of drug-related crimes also fell.

To those who realize how antithetical laws that criminalize what one does to his or her own body are to America's founding ideals, Portugal's statistics are not a surprise.

The U.S. drug laws serve only to embolden organized crime, foster the spread of disease, and to create a violent black market.

Would that the drug treatment court in Butler County apply the lessons of Portugal to its task.

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