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Is Portugal’s Decriminalisation of All Drugs Proving Effective?

Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001 while the Philippines has been cold-bloodedly killing its addicts in the street. 

VICE Examines Whether Portugals Decriminalisation Of Drugs Is Proving Effective
Credit: VICE 'Why Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs'

Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001 while the Philippines has been cold-bloodedly killing its addicts in the street. 

The War On Drugs

Vice has aired a new episode on its show ‘The War on Drugs’ and compares Portugal and the Philippines’ vastly different approaches to battle the usage of drugs. Whereas drug abuse is met with compassion and seen as a health problem in Portugal, the Philippines regard drug users as criminals who deserve to be shot dead.

Portugal and the Philippines

Both Portugal and the Philippines were facing similar problems of drug in their countries. In the 1990’s it was estimated that 1 in 100 people in the country was addicted to heroin. For years Portugal tried to tackle the problem with a more aggressive approach but turned to decriminalisation in 2001 when this wasn’t effective. You can read more about its decriminalisation strategy here.

Credit: Screenshot VICE ‘Why Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs’

In 2016, the newly elected leader Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines opened the war on drugs with punishment. In one of his speeches, Duterte makes the gesture of slicing his throat, signalling that he will rage this war until every last drug lord has been killed. Now, every night for the last four years the police goes into the slumps and shoot people dead.

Compassion VS Violence

In the episode, VICE examines whether the prohibition of drugs works or whether decriminalisation is more effective and notes that while Duterte’s policy has proved popular, popularity doesn’t equal success.

The full 10-minute episode can be viewed in the embedded Youtube video below or found on VICE’s website.

Read more on VICE’s features on drugs.

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