My Opinion

After investigating both sides of the drug use/possession decriminalization controversy, I believe that decriminalizing is the safest and most useful compromise between legalization and criminalization. Legalization is too big of a change to happen in our society, at least right now. There is less evidence that it will reveal positive results and when faced with legalizing drugs, countries have chosen to decriminalize instead. With the current systems we see in various parts around the United States and the world, criminalizing drug use/ possession has been unfruitful in decreasing drug users, drug possession, drug overdoses, addiction, infectious diseases, drug incarcerations, and more. Meanwhile, in examples of decriminalization policies in the Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and more, we find these policies to be improving the drug use in these respective countries. Portugal, for example, has seen a drastic decrease in drug-related deaths from about 80 in 2001 to 16 in 2012. (Transform Drug Policy Foundation, 2018). Furthermore, the following figures exemplify the drastic and immediate change in drug related criminal matters in Portugal after decriminalization.

Figure 1 represents Identified Drug Offenders from 1995- 2010 and Figure 2 represents Drug Incarcerations from 1992- 2010 in Portugal:

Laqueur, 2015, pg. 753
Laqueur, 2015, pg. 757