26 April 2009

Decriminalization: A case study

Something the U.S. might try?

In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections . . . Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006, according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.

14 April 2009

Cruel April

April is the cruelest month
breeding lilacs out of the dead land
mixing memory and desire
stirring dull roots with spring rain.

I think I'll end up sending my taxes in late this year. Filling out tax forms has to be at the very bottom of my list of favorite activites. And I keep trying to convince myself that this money is going somewhere worthwhile--somewhere out there, my pennies are going to feed the orphan and to construct the new transport system of the future.