Essay on The Drug Policy Of The United States

900 Words May 30th, 2016 4 Pages
In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to fully decriminalise possession of small amounts of all controlled substances - for personal use. Though there has been a large reduction in drug related deaths in the following years, statistics show that use of controlled substances has increased in a number of areas. Health actors in this policy area are very strongly tied to each stage of the policy cycle, including evaluation, and despite some successes, this policy has been evaluated as both positive and negative by different groups of health professionals (Hughes & Stevens, 2010).

The final key actor in the drug policy space is the legal group. Under current policies, just under 50% of the US prison population is incarcerated for a drug related offence. This accounts to around $40Billion USD of US taxpayer money being spent on the ‘War on Drugs’ each year (Miron & Waldock, 2010). Though there are numbers of those in the legal sector, including everyone from Supreme Court judges through to traffic officers, whom have a strong personal view on the area of drug policy, legal officials can often be seen as having little power at the agenda-setting stage of the policy cycle. This is because they are public servants, and often it would be considered hypocritical to support harm reductionist policy, while incarcerating individuals for crimes as little as possession for personal use. The part of the policy cycle where legal officials have the most influence as an actor…

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