Would Decriminalizing Drug Use Have a Positive Impact on Heroin Treatment in Florida?

The use of drugs in the U.S. has been increasing for many decades with the population of prisons and jails expanding at the same time. The impact of the so-called war on drugs that began in the 1970s and 80s has obviously had little effect on the level of abuse taking place around the U.S. In the U.S. alone, the number of inmates in jails and prisons has been growing until from 2015 there were around 87,000 felons serving time for drug offenses.

Decriminalization has been one of the most parts of the campaigns designed to have a positive impact on the level of heroin abuse across Florida. The majority of researchers into drug issues take a look at the potential issues associated with heroin abuse and the way it has affected the nation of Portugal after the European nation decriminalization of drugs. One of the major benefits for the nation has been the ability to complete the defelonization of the jail population.

How can Decriminalization help?

Florida has seen a high rate of drug overdoses associated with the use of opioids across the state and the U.S. as a whole. In the U.S., the level of opioid overdose sat at 67,367 in 2018 with Florida seeing a rate of 3,189 deaths in 2018 alone. If the state of Florida decided to undertake a large-scale decriminalization policy, we would see a series of changes to drug use, including:

  • An increase in drug treatment uses
  • A fall in drug overdose fatalities
  • Lower HIV levels
  • A lower prison population

One of the main reasons for the development of a different way of thinking about drugs caused by decriminalization has been the attempt to defelonize the U.S. and other countries. Many states have already reduced the penalties for being caught in possession of some drugs to a warning or minor offenses, but in other areas, the strict laws remain a problem. By driving individuals to prison, instead of allowing them to change their behaviors with treatment, the problems facing you are increasing all the time. Instead of looking to law enforcement to take control of drug abuse situations, the better alternative would be for experts in the treatment of heroin and other opioid abuses to take control of these situations.

What we can Learn from Portugal

The illegal and prescription drug abuse facing the world is evolving all the time, but the nation of Portugal is usually held up as a beacon of how the battle can be fought in a different way. Way back in 2001, the European nation led the world in the decriminalization of drugs and has become the standard-bearer for the work that has been done to develop a better understanding of the way this can affect the wider community. In terms of treatment centers, the results of decriminalization in Portugal have included a large number of people making their way to treatment facilities across the nation. The number of people seeking treatment in Portugal from 1998 to 2011 rose by around 60 percent to show the decriminalization of heroin was having a positive effect. It is likely these results would be replicated in Florida because the effects of decriminalization would be similar. Instead of law enforcement officials seeking to jail those who were caught using or possessing illicit drugs would be replaced by a move to send you to treatment facilities.

Handling Lower HIV Rates

One of the findings that have proven an excellent reason for the decriminalization of heroin and other drugs for treatment centers is the lowered rate of infection for HIV that has been seen around the world. The decision to decriminalize drugs in Portugal was based on a late-90s heroin epidemic that affected almost every part of society. Treatment centers across the state of Florida would benefit from the same lowered rate of HIV that would help make the delivery of treatment easier to complete in Florida’s treatment centers. The significant decrease in the jail population would lead to more people making their way to treatment facilities instead of being jailed and continuing the cycle of abuse and a return to a heroin addiction that continues for many people. When you are ready to get started with treatment contact our councilors at 844-639-8371 .

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