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How Portugal Ended Its War on Drugs

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Back in the 1990s, Portugal faced a heroin crisis. Most people knew someone affected by the lethal drug. Just two decades later, the country has one of the lowest drug-related death rates in the world. This dramatic turnaround isn't credited to a hard-line approach, but instead by decriminalizing all drugs. Video by Tom Gibson ---------- Hello World is a Webby and Emmy-nominated video series from Bloomberg that invites the viewer to come on a journey across the globe to find the inventors, scientists and technologists shaping our future. Join journalist and best-selling author Ashlee Vance on a quest to find the freshest, weirdest tech creations and the beautiful freaks behind them. Watch more Hello World episodes: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-hello-world/ Like this video? Subscribe to Bloomberg on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/Bloomberg?sub_confirmation=1 Bloomberg is the First Word in business news, delivering breaking news & analysis, up-to-the-minute market data, features, profiles and more: http://www.bloomberg.com Connect with us on... Twitter: https://twitter.com/business Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bloombergbusiness Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bloombergbusiness/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-05-24/how-portugal-solved-its-heroin-problem-video
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Text Comments (649)
adanacman666 (4 days ago)
I have been there,believe me, they are nowhere near solving their drug problems,NOT EVEN CLOSE...........
Nikola Ivanov (5 days ago)
3:07 what and where are those?
crocodile574 (6 days ago)
The way you pronounced João Goulão was so funny :D
Obaid Rehman (7 days ago)
3:07 why those trams are so high
Max Powers (7 days ago)
Interesting. Gustavo Petro had this program in his presidency candidacy but Colombians are very naive to believe that it's possible. That's why the US goverment is sending money to fight drugs with the Right wing party goverment and it seems to solve nothing, it makes it worst. Did u know that the new goverment is trying to target a tattooed person as a suspect of having drugs? crazy right?
Lourenço Vieira (8 days ago)
Lol Olá XD
MoMoKoKo (9 days ago)
And they have Cristiano Ronaldo
Hari Narayanan (10 days ago)
Portugal could do this because they saw their population as matured enough to understand. The same policy introduced in India could break the country, a population so blind eyed towards recreational drug use cannot handle it. And everyone would either so crazy and get high all the time or be leaving the country.
3:08 those trams are lit!!!
Rodolfo (19 days ago)
Holy jesus, is that train look-alike doing a wheelie ? 3:06
Violeta Lisboa Tavares (26 days ago)
What? I’m so confused. I didn’t know that this happened AT ALL. And I’m from Portugal! My dad was a teen and my grandparents were 40 at this time. I’m really curious about this now...
Alapone (30 days ago)
Yeah but America can't do this because there is money to be made on War on the Drugs, and it's not really a War on Drugs...it's a War on People.
Lawrence Of Canadia (30 days ago)
maybe one dat Canada will do this
nwobhm1992 (1 month ago)
lol some junke said weed has same effects as heroine and cocaine do
gta4everrr (1 month ago)
People who want or need to use drugs are going to find ways of getting it, regardless of what "the law" says. Not everyone who uses drugs like cocaine or heroine recreationally becomes addicted, if we spent more time and money studying addiction instead of criminalizing and stigmatizing it, we might actually be able to prevent and/or more effectively treat addiction. I'm not saying the United States should do exactly what Portugal is doing, but we've pretty much been doing the same thing for 40+ years and things are only getting worse, so we clearly need to try something else.
Delerious Dinosaur (1 month ago)
my parents kicked me out of the house because they found a weed pipe in my car
Julian Tibay (1 month ago)
This would only happen to US if they voted for Ron Paul 2012.
it took 26 bloody days for me to find weed in portugal, people that were smoking just didn't want to tell me where I could get some, thankfully the nicest homeless man helped me to find it and even gave me a rolling paper ❤❤
Rudyson Estanislao (1 month ago)
Sadly Philippines is more 80% in Enforcement than Healthcare due to its Financial funding for HealthCare System.
Simony _ (2 months ago)
Eu gostaria que isso acontecesse no brasil também
Artificial245 (2 months ago)
Oh and by the way, the taxation needed to treat these people is 40+% for everyone making more than E20,000, the wealthy have fled the country, unemployment is at 8%, debt to GDP is 130%, and they barely even have a military to show for it.
Scott Gibson (2 months ago)
Drugs in the US is a giant cash cow for all , from the drug dealers, the cops working overtime, the court system, lawyers and the prison system. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing expecting different results. Even my family who work in law enforcement say its a waste of time, its a losing battle.
Rio the MadHater (2 months ago)
This wouldn't work in countries like Philippines: Different socio economic backgrounds, cultures and overall government affordability. I think Duterte's solution is alright if only it is all inclusive. Problem is only the poor is hit hard while the drug bosses & well connected are unscathed.
Kiko Alves (2 months ago)
Ai Portugal é tão bom...
Fo Reel (2 months ago)
In Asia, they're strict, and there's hardly any drug use. In the US, we used to be strict, and there was hardly any drug use. You get all the drug deaths you want, based on your choice as to whether you want to let these vermin experiment with these harmful drugs or not, and let them face no serious jail time, if they're just users. The liberal policy is always to throw up their hands and say "there's nothing we can do" about every moral issue. But there is, it worked here in the past, it works in Asia now. Better than Portugal is the Asian approach, and the old approach in the West and America.
Xeper-I-Set (8 days ago)
There's loads of drug use in Asia, what the fuck are you talking about?
Gacheru Mburu (2 months ago)
🤔
winwin's tears (2 months ago)
President Duterte, please take some notes from Portugal
Malbabo (2 months ago)
Im Portuguese. Having the lowest drug-related death rate, doesn't mean the problem is "solved". The drug problems still exist. The past month the police apprehended several tons of drugs, off the coast. Difference (from the 90s to now) is people learned more about drugs and are more aware of its problems. However, the number of "light drug" users is going sky-high, due to its use being decriminalized; the results of this will be known in another 20-30 years.
Scott Pratt (2 months ago)
Not enough money to be made that route.
EastCoCo (2 months ago)
Its strange how the US invades the middle east where the opium is plentiful and now theres a opiate crisis going on in the US... The government controls the drugs coming into the country
The one nonly (30 days ago)
no dont think the soldiers are to blame after all they have gotten it in other countries ,its a world problem ! where they would happily kill you if you tried to stop them growing the stuff , becausd thats how they earn their crusts !! legalise its the only thing that makes sense , big pharma will still make their billions and the poor cuban/etc farmers can grow it with a clear conscious
Lukis o (2 months ago)
This happens when the country actually cares about theyr people
João Pinto (2 months ago)
Ainda bem q o Dr. Jau Gulau apareceu a tempo para resolver o problema!
Raw Sauce (2 months ago)
Never going to happen in the US. Otherwise how would they fill up all their private prisons if drug crimes were pretty much eradicated?
Assassam1 (2 months ago)
Forgiveness and help always works best. Isn't that also what Jesus did republican leadership?
S M (2 months ago)
1 in 100 Jesus Christ that’s a lot
RJ (2 months ago)
Total BS. Portugal had almost 0 to none economic growth in 80/90s in comparison to other European countries and; therefore, obviously such misery caused a lot of people in society to get into such destructive modes and get into drugs as a result. However, Portugal had had an immense amount of investment coming from EU along with a new regulations attracting Foreign Direct investments, for instance, into property markets as well as introducing Foreign immigrant visas in the last few years and as a Result: a lot of that money was used to physically clean up big cities plus construction jobs contributed to a massive property boom, for instance, in Lisbon, and which is still undergoing at the moment. Therefore, more job => less time to go crazy => better focus => resulting in changes in priorities => a small group of people starts getting active =>everybody else follow
Ray Hoodoo (2 months ago)
1% of the population? I can't believe that. What population? Whole population? Then take into consideration how many adults used heroin, if we subtract children and the elderly who probably didn't use heroin, or at least not as much.
Ray Hoodoo (2 months ago)
low? it's seems like a lot, man! especially, including children and elders. of adult population then 20% used heroin? 30%? seems unreal.
João Pinto (2 months ago)
Ray Hoodoo probably the includes childrens, that's why that number seems low, because probably they don't consume drugs, so 100 thousand persons did use heroin back in time...
MrGoodkat (2 months ago)
Legalisation and regulation of drugs and treatment of addicts with wider education in the dangers of addictive drugs is the only sensible way forward.
Joseph Breen (2 months ago)
The problem with the “war on drugs” is that the war was planned out in a way to fatten the pockets of the private prison system and the private rehab facilities throughout the country... look at what Bush did in 2003... he invaded the Middle East.. Afghanistan was one of the countries that was invaded and has the largest poppy seed fields in the entire world... the US lost control of the marijuana and cocaine supply coming from Hispanic countries So they needed a new drug to push and control... this is where we Are, people.. wake up!
Joseph Breen (2 months ago)
And I’m not trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist... but if you look at the correlation between us invading poppy-seed-field-rich counties and the opioid epidemic we are facing today... it adds up...
Greasy nPoor (2 months ago)
America seems to do everything wrong when u dont look at things through a greedy mans eyes. The money made on lock ups and prisons and rehabs and all the BS that goes with it is the reason america does what it does.
LyleGlenn (2 months ago)
Comparing Portugal (10M inhabitants) to the US (325M)... Have you heard of "per capita" ;-)
Filippo Mazza (2 months ago)
This video does not explain at all how they ended the war, if ever started. The war is not on people, allowed to have small amounts, but on trafficking!
Marco Ruiz (2 months ago)
For all of those who say the US should do this, the use is literally 100+x the size of Portugal, bigger population, more land area makes this solution incomprehensible in the US
eta carinae (2 months ago)
Yeah right here in Portugal there are tons of drug dealers and junkies
Ilia Botvinnik (2 months ago)
I agree. Every adult should have a right to medicate themselves. Use of dangerous drugs should be discouraged and treated; instead, we are throwing billions of dollars at the "War on Drugs," with absolutely no win or even a noticeable change in sight!
Hesu Crispy (2 months ago)
@President Duterte
MossimoH2o (2 months ago)
Or less on enforcement and more on punishment
Brosky999 (2 months ago)
this would be beneficial to the US but we criminalize everything here. the truth is so much money is made off of incarcerating people rather than helping them. this country is so backwards.
Imani Imani (2 months ago)
Genius
Tyler Durden (2 months ago)
I like the Philippine way better
stephan daoust (2 months ago)
They kicked out the CIA...
Raka Pratama (2 months ago)
Portugal success should lead to campaign to end the literal war on drugs, and move on to metaphorical war on drugs, by doing harm reductions
vladimir makarov (2 months ago)
Women started giving guys blow jobs and so women couldn't sell sex for drugs and the men are happy that they are getting bjs that they don't turn to drugs
Jagioh Blackflag (2 months ago)
All countries should follow Portugal's example on this. When a country does something right, other countries should learn from it.
Nsatiro (2 months ago)
Salazar was a great hero. Not dictator
Nsatiro (2 months ago)
As mentiras dos comunistas.. Estam a cair em desuso.. A verdade emergiu devagar..
João Pinto (2 months ago)
Nsatiro wtf? Ahaha
Meester Writer (2 months ago)
and now the problem's 10 times worse. got offered drugs at the fucking airport as i flew in this week, seen two junkies stumbling along the road trying to flag cars down to beg for money.
Joe Blow (2 months ago)
this is bs coming from big business to sway you. it's an agenda so they can get into the drug business (like what's happening with marijuana right now). whatever happened with other countries(1% b.s.), I can assure you won't apply here. and do not forget, this country(USA), is a market place First!! business prevails, and if there's no business model for it, there soon will be and it will be abused(policy, that is).
Gregory Smith (2 months ago)
Can't have a rise in illegal drug use if it's legal
Super HankHill (2 months ago)
Defeat your enemy by helping those allied to it, truly an effective approach.
Gus Bus (2 months ago)
Too much money in keeping it illegal. I have no idea why prostitution is still illegal. law doesn’t dictate morality
Rose Knapp (2 months ago)
Props to Bloomberg for this actually rational take, meanwhile mainstream America is like ‘more police should somehow alleviate this largely self-created crisis?
Joel Martins (2 months ago)
PORTUGAL!🇵🇹
sean strickland (2 months ago)
Prescription drugs is way worse in the states..
Outdoorsguy (2 months ago)
Here in America, the private prison industry lobbies for the War on Drugs, California's 3 strikes law, and influences legislation that keeps more people behind bars and longer.
Sourish Saha (2 months ago)
Pakistan and Afghanistan ia always this shit
Sourish Saha (2 months ago)
the world should file this also.. drug is a bag thing
Alexandra Dun (2 months ago)
Cool
Mr G Gaming 2.0 Potato (2 months ago)
Only took 19 years
sayak das (2 months ago)
War on Drugs done right.
Supahtripp X (2 months ago)
Now do a video like this on the Philippines
john doe (2 months ago)
Trump doesn't believe Portugal is real so this system will never help the US.
huge creature (2 months ago)
Its never gonna stop in the usa unless we stop voting for business people we should really stop trump and his team of rascals are gonna doom the usa because all they care about is making more money even if it kills people
AvangionQ (2 months ago)
Portugal has turned their drug problem around by treating addiction as a medical issue, not a criminal one ... we need to adopt their policies to see the same thing happen here.
Daniel Spinosa (2 months ago)
CR7
Yellow Penetrator (2 months ago)
Why can’t every other county understand this prove right now?
Humod Albadr (2 months ago)
I thought this was a meme
Fagot Reich (2 months ago)
Governments should sell and subsidize drugs and drag their prices so low it would put the dealers out of bussiness. They make the profit on top. If you cant fight the devil make him work for you
MiguelPpM (2 months ago)
lol.
Countries around the world should follow Portugal.
Deemz (2 months ago)
This is what all countries should do
mama nomeusako (2 months ago)
How portugal had heroin crisis? The country had no weed or hax And beggin to have only heroin I know people of this generation that was hooked The weed crisis wqs created by govermnt to sell heroin
Marela9 (2 months ago)
I was born in the mid 90s so I had no idea Portugal had a heroine crisis. Goes to show they sorted things well.
Bruno R. (2 months ago)
República das Bananas...
OG Deadeye (2 months ago)
Charge anyone who sells heroin with murder, as that's what it is, slowly murdering someone. Hand out the death penalty in every case and I promise you heroin will be gone within a year
Milenko Jakovljević (2 months ago)
it won't look at us states where murder gives death penalty within a year of law did everybody stop murdering others no so....
Milenko Jakovljević (2 months ago)
it won't tell me in the us is nobody murdering anyone
Daniel R (2 months ago)
Lol look at Portugals population before watching this video. Then look at America's and lol at the percent change.
Jacob Wakefield (2 months ago)
This is still nuts. Why aren't they just legal!
edmarty gonzales (2 months ago)
Portugal doesn't have drug cartels?
MegaKapo12 (2 months ago)
I thought this would be a mistake at the time as it wasn't really explained and a bit of fearmongery from the conservatives but time has proved it to be the right thing to do.
hyou zan ren (2 months ago)
US can't do this because every convicts mean more money for prison owners!
Aulona Lm (2 months ago)
This is literally a Vox copycat
Jammy James (2 months ago)
This is what other countries should do as well in my opinion
Tenac 300 (2 months ago)
the only thing the can remove drugs from society is the death penalty.
Tenac 300 (2 months ago)
Democracy caused the drug problem
Mini Mal (2 months ago)
Duterte could learn from this :v
AwkwardPanda (2 months ago)
The Philippines should take notes.
Johnlanzer (2 months ago)
AwkwardPanda There are large rehabilitation centers being built to accomodate the drug-users who surrendered. But none of it being covered by the media. All protests yet no help to handle the millions of afflicted.
Sebas G (2 months ago)
Portugal can be smart when it needs to.
Asahel (2 months ago)
Well thats only applicable if the user reached rock bottom, that approach wont be effective nywhere and i think thats not the reason why.
JoJiJoJo (2 months ago)
I'm from the USA and I've always said that we should just legalize or decriminalize all drugs. It works obviously.
BillionaireFred (2 months ago)
I'm portuguese, and I can tell you, even though cocaine and heroin aren't that common anymore, 80 to 90% of teenagers smoked or smoke haxixe or has we call it here (ganza)
L C (1 month ago)
420
Bo Franco (2 months ago)
Lies. Absolute lies
KnarfLean Llabantines (2 months ago)
cala a boca e faz a tua otário
Joseph Breen (2 months ago)
BillionaireFred marijuana at a young age ex: under 18, will have deviating effects on future brain development... I think once you reach a certain age you should be allowed to smoke or consume marijuana however you like... but, like alcohol, there should be an age limit...
SmiteWithStrawHat (2 months ago)
Tenho que discordar dessa percentagem, 80% e 90% é exagerar muito, só se viveres numa zona péssima em relação a isso. Eu até aceitaria uns 20 - 30%, porque a realidade é que encontras ganza com a maior das facilidades, mas daí a dizer que quase 100% dos adolescentes fumam, é um bom bocado :P. Para teres uma ideia, na escola secundária que eu andava, em 300 alunos não acredito que mais de 30 - 40 fumem.
Psycho Fury (2 months ago)
Did he say "over 100 people were using the drug" at the start lol?
Alexo (2 months ago)
Psycho Fury One in a hundred
Muhammad waleed (2 months ago)
Stupidity about Pakistan, there is no damn thing in Pakistan,

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