Defining Drug Related Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Drugs, Policy, Crime, Social Issues, Criminal Justice, America, United States, Europe

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/10

Drug policy in the USA is strictly prohibitionist in nature. Prohibition refers to the development and implementation of policies that criminalize the production, distribution, use and even the possession, of drugs. This policy is responsible for the fact that the USA hosts 5% of the world’s population but has 25% of worldwide prisoner population. However, this strict, no nonsense policy has failed miserably since the USA has far higher drug usage rate than some European countries such as Italy with more relaxed drug policies. Ironically, prohibition even leads to a rise in drug-related crime. For instance, it causes prices of drugs to be even more expensive which causes drug users to engage in prostitution, robbery and other street crimes in order to raise the funds. Prohibition also leads to organized crime since drug cartels thrive on supplying the illegal drugs causing even more drug-related crime such as homicides during drug wars.
It is this failure of the prohibitionist policy that has led to other approaches being considered. One such approach is decriminalization. Decriminalization refers to the removal of criminal sanctions under law for drug offenses while reserving the right to use administrative penalties such as court-ordered therapy. Decriminalization is not an action or a policy in itself but only creates a legal framework for development of policies to reduce damage wreaked by drugs. It also provides a way to reintegrate drug users into the society
Portugal provides perhaps the best template to study this approach. In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to abolish criminal penalties for possession of drugs. This was done on the recommendation of a committee established to analyze the drug use problem in Portugal. The committee established that treating drug use like a crime discouraged drug dependent persons from seeking help for fear of punishment. Thus, it proposed that a Dissuasion Commission replaces a criminal court in dealing with drug offenses. The committee also proposed that the government undertakes educational programs and expands treatment programs. In short, it proposed a paradigm shift from viewing drug dependent persons as criminals, to seeing them as patients.
This policy has had a number of successes. For example, it has freed up the police to focus on combating organized crime and drug dealers rather than chasing after users. Secondly, it has led to a drop in the rates of ordinary crimes related to drug use such as petty theft. This is because users know they can get help at treatment centers. Another success has been the reduction in the percentage of drug users being infected with HIV. This is due to the efforts of street worker group who go around giving safety packs. The total number of individuals seeking help for drug use has also more than doubled. While drug decriminalization is not a panacea for the drug problem, it is an approach well worth investigating. The USA should draw on Portugal’s success to implement a similar program. This is entirely workable despite the large size of the USA as compared to Portugal. The model should be implemented as has been done with marijuana in some states.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, November, 10) Defining Drug Related Essay Examples. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
"Defining Drug Related Essay Examples." WePapers, 10 Nov. 2020, Accessed 28 September 2023.
WePapers. 2020. Defining Drug Related Essay Examples., viewed September 28 2023, <>
WePapers. Defining Drug Related Essay Examples. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed September 28, 2023]. Available from:
"Defining Drug Related Essay Examples." WePapers, Nov 10, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.
WePapers. 2020. "Defining Drug Related Essay Examples." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved September 28, 2023. (
"Defining Drug Related Essay Examples," Free Essay Examples -, 10-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28-Sep-2023].
Defining Drug Related Essay Examples. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 10, 2020. Accessed September 28, 2023.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Other Pages
Contact us
Chat now