Drug abuse is a major global issue that results in thousands of deaths every year. Drug addiction also leads to significant economic and social burden on the country. The drugs problem refuses to go, even when most countries have prescribed the harshest of punishment for production, supply, distribution and possession of drugs.
Thankfully, there are a handful of countries that have taken a completely radical approach to control the spread of drugs. Instead of banning it, these countries have legalized use of drugs. These countries have built a unique ecosystem that allows drug addicts to procure and use drugs in a safe manner.
These countries are witnessing wide ranging benefits from drug legalization. It includes reduced HIV infection, reduced death rate due to overdose and substandard products, less social stigma, and increased willingness to quit drugs through awareness and rehabilitation programs. Let’s take a look at some countries that have legalized drugs, i.e. where you can buy drugs legally.
Portugal – There was a time when Portugal was facing a massive spike in the number of drug addicts. However, results have been positive ever since the country decriminalized possession of drugs for personal use. Portugal is the first country to have achieved positive results with its policy of drug decriminalization. HIV infection rates are down, drug addiction among teenagers has reduced, and drug related deaths have come down. The number of people willing to get treatment for their addiction is also on the rise.
Czech Republic – Considered as one of the most liberal nations, Czech Republic allows drugs for personal use in small quantities. Most of the drugs such as marijuana, hashish, LSD, heroin, cocaine, etc. are allowed for personal use. However, people can be sent to jail if they are found to possess more than the legally allowed quantities of drugs.
Netherlands – This country follows a mixed approach to drug decriminalization. Netherlands has classified drugs into two broad categories, soft drugs and hard drugs. The rules are tolerant when it comes to personal use of soft drugs such as marijuana, sedatives, hash and sleeping pills. On the other hand, the sale, distribution and use of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, etc. is suppressed.
Ukraine – The country allows personal use of soft drugs such as marijuana. However, the act of manufacturing, storage, distribution and sale of marijuana and other related products is considered as criminal activity. In essence, Ukraine’s policy protects ordinary citizens, but does not give any type of freedom to drug suppliers.
Canada – Cultivation, production, distribution and sale of marijuana is legal across Canada. In addition to local stores, people in Canada can order cannabis online. They can also buy related products such as cannabis oil, extracts, and herbs.
Drug legalization can work if it is implemented in a proper manner. The rules such as age restriction and dosage restriction should be strictly followed to make it work. Simultaneously, specialized government agencies, NGOs or volunteers need to work to spread awareness and motivate drug addicts to quit their habit. Dedicated drug rehabilitation centers have been set up by these countries where drug addicts can attempt to start a new life. We hope other countries follow this approach, so that more drug addicts can be given a second chance.