There is no connection between laws that target possession of drugs and decreased drug use, according to a report released by the British government.
The evidence-based study examined drug laws in 11 countries and is the country’s first official report in more than four decades that challenges official “war on drugs” policies.
“There are indications that decriminalization can reduce the burden on criminal justice systems,” researchers write.
The report notes that decriminalization has been effective in many countries, in particular Portugal, which eliminated most sentences of incarceration for drugs in 2000.
“One of the clearest changes in Portugal since 2001 has been a considerable improvement in the indicators of health outcomes for drug users,” researchers write.
Other countries studied include: Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Uruguay.
“Looking across different countries, there is no apparent correlation between the ‘toughness’ of a country’s approach and the prevalence of adult drug use,” according to the report.
After the report was published on Oct. 30, members of Britain’s Liberal Democrat party accused the ruling Conservative party of trying to quash the report. Prime Minister David Cameron’s office then released a statement saying the report would not change his stance on drug criminalization.
Read the full report HERE.