Ten years ago, Portugal passed a law decriminalizing possession of illegal drugs, and turned their focus to treatment instead of imprisonment. Since then, drug use has not gone up, and they've managed to reduce the harm caused by drugs to individuals and society. The U.S. War on Drugs? Not so much. It's pretty much been a disaster, anyway you look at. So according to this Associated Press article, the U.S. is taking a closer look at Portugal:
[T]he United States, which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske visited Portugal in September to learn about its drug reforms, and other countries — including Norway, Denmark, Australia and Peru — have taken interest, too.
I'm having trouble envisioning legislators and politicians in the United States doing something so pragmatic, though. Who will take care of the private prison industry if we stop imprisoning Americans (primarily black) who have been busted with drugs?