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One is not the other

In response to Andre Chequer's letter "they need care", decriminalization is not legalization.

Decriminalization does not mean a drug "free for all" or that stores would suddenly start opening up offering crack/heroin/meth etc. It would still be illegal to sell/buy drugs but "personal possession" would be decriminalized, meaning possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use would not be a criminal offense.

I 100 per cent agree that addicts need help. Addicts are not the ones selling the drugs, dealers are. Arresting/charging/jailing an addict is not going to help them in any way shape or form. It is also not going to save many lives. Most addicts will go straight back to their dealer the minute they are released and unfortunately many will overdose and die.

The police man hours saved by not having to arrest/book/interview etc the users could instead be spent chasing the real criminals (the dealers), and the tax payer dollars could be better spent on providing addicts/users with the actual help they need (treatment programs).

Portugal decriminalized drugs back in 2001 and turned instead to a treatment based program for simple drug use. Take a look at how it has turned out for them. Pretty much every negative statistic related to drug use (drug related crime, deaths etc) has fallen and stayed well below the EU average. Portugal has proven over the last two decades that decriminalization and increased treatment programs are a far better weapon for the "war on drugs" than the current "all drug users are criminals" approach that the rest of the world has taken.

I fully support decriminalization of personal amounts but would be 100 per cent against legalization

Tom Walker



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