The Liberal Conspiracy has interesting article on the drug decriminalisation in Portugal. Two highlights for me.
The opening paragraph:
The right predicted Bad Things: Drug use would explode, tourists would travel from far and wide to get high on the streets of Lisbon, law and order would collapse, and people would start riding around in modified cars and fighting in Thunderdomes
This just made me laugh:)
Now what made me cringe was the stats from a Cato paper looking at Portugal:
Prevalence rates for the 15–24 age group have increased only very slightly, whereas the rates for the critical 15–19 age group—critical because such a substantial number of young citizens begin drug usage during these years—have actually decreased in absolute terms since decriminalization.
Perhaps most strikingly, while prevalence rates for the period from 1999 to 2005, for the 16–18 age group, increased somewhat for cannabis (9.4 to 15.1 percent) and for drugs generally (12.3 to 17.7 percent), the prevalence rate decreased during that same period for heroin (2.5 to 1.8 percent), the substance that Portuguese drug officials believed was far and away the most socially destructive.
If you feel confused after reading that paragraph don’t worry. The Liberal Conspiracy’s description of this passage hit the spot for me:
What the above basically demonstrates is that if you cherry-pick the right start years and end years for an age-group, you can get almost any result you want
Lies, damned lies and statistics….