Absolving drug users from arrest and prosecution for drug use and preparatory acts like acquisition, simple possession or cultivation for personal use does not lead to increased drug use, but does significantly lower pressure on law enforcement agencies and on the judicial and penitentiary systems, and it removes barriers for users with problematic patterns of use to approach treatment and harm reduction services.

  • Drug users and the law in the EU

    A balance between punishment and treatment
    European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
    Drugs in focus Issue: 2
    March 2002

    Drug laws in the European Union (EU) seek continuously to strike a balance between punishment and treatment. The three United Nations (UN) conventions on drugs, limit drug use exclusively to medical or scientific purposes. While they do not call for illicit use of drugs to be considered a crime, the 1988 Convention — as a step towards tackling international drug trafficking — does identify possession for personal use to be regarded as such.

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  • Decriminalisation in Europe?

    Recent developments in legal approaches to drug use
    European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
    European Legal Database on Drugs
    November 2001

    This brief report analyses the similarities and differences in legal attitudes to drug use and possession across Europe in light of the recent changes in 2001.

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  • Impact Analysis Project of New Drugs Legislation

    Summary Final Report
    Zabransky, T., Mravcik, V., Gajdosikova, H. & Miovskù, M.
    Secretariat of the National Drug Commission
    Office of the Czech Government
    October 2001

    The first major post-communist reform of Czech drug laws was completed as early as 1990. Among other legislative changes that were seen as returns to democratic and humanistic values, capital punishment and punishment for simple possession of illegal drugs were abolished. However, in 1997 a proposal was submitted to the Czech parliament that would re-introduce criminal penalties for drug users for possession of any amount of illegal drugs. The government subsequently submitted its own more modest proposal introducing criminalization of possession, but only for amounts that were "bigger than small", which was approved by parliament in April 1998.

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  • Drug Use Criminalization v. Decriminalization

    An Analysis in the Light of the Italian Experience
    Luigi M. Solivetti
    Report on mandate of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
    January 2001

    The present paper focuses on the pros & cons of the main dichotomy in the field of drug control policy: that between criminalization and decriminalization. In the extensive opening chapter dedicated to the “Premises”, the various points of view about the advisability of having recourse to criminal sanctions are examined.

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  • The Dutch example shows that liberal drug laws can be beneficial

    Craig Reinarman
    Scott Barbour (Ed.), Drug Legalization: Current Controversies. San Diego: Greenhaven Press. pp. 102-108.

    U.S. drug control officials have denounced Dutch drug policy as if it were the devil himself. One former U.S. Drug Czar said "you can't walk down the street in Amsterdam without tripping over junkies." In the Summer of 1998, however, one such denouncement turned into a small scandal. The first part of this chapter examines this incident as a window on the politics of drug policy. The second part offers a more general analysis of why U.S. drug control officials seem to be so threatened by the Dutch example.

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