Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Pelas piores razões, Portugal tem sido ultimamente notícia frequente nos media de todo o mundo.
Não admira, por isso, que amigos e conhecidos norte-americanos ou a residir nos EUA nos perguntem, insistentemente,  o que se passa com a dívida e os juros que temos às costas. 

Hoje, no entanto, pode ler-se aqui, a propósito do flagelo da droga nos States, uma reportagem acerca do saldo positivo resultante da lei que desde há uns anos despenaliza o uso das drogas em Portugal, traduzido numa quebra significativa de dependentes crónicos e do aumento de aprisionamento de droga e de traficantes.   

Valham-nos pelo menos as excepções quando a regra é desoladora.

Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons

LISBON, Portugal -- These days, Casal Ventoso is an ordinary blue-collar community - mothers push baby strollers, men smoke outside cafes, buses chug up and down the cobbled main street.
Ten years ago, the Lisbon neighborhood was a hellhole, a "drug supermarket" where some 5,000 users lined up every day to buy heroin and sneaked into a hillside honeycomb of derelict housing to shoot up. In dark, stinking corners, addicts - some with maggots squirming under track marks - staggered between the occasional corpse, scavenging used, bloody needles.

At that time, Portugal, like the junkies of Casal Ventoso, had hit rock bottom: An estimated 100,000 people - an astonishing 1 percent of the population - were addicted to illegal drugs. So, like anyone with little to lose, the Portuguese took a risky leap: They decriminalized the use of all drugs in a groundbreaking law in 2000.

Now, the 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.

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