What Happened When Portugal Decriminalized Drugs?

Following a bloodless coup in the 1970s, Portugal saw an influx of drugs come into the country, resulting in one percent of the population being addicted to heroin. Fourteen years ago, the country took a somewhat unprecedented approach to solving its significant problem: decriminalizing all drugs.

"If you were found in possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything --- from marijuana to heroin --- you would be sent to a three-person commission to talk about drug addiction. It was a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker, and the commission would recommend treatment or a minor fine, otherwise you were sent off without penalty," Glenn said Wednesday on radio.

Addicts, rather than being imprisoned, received treatment.

While the problem became worse at first, the long-term results have been somewhat impressive. Both the use of drugs and drug-induced deaths have dropped significantly.

"It's actually working in Portugal. It's the Libertarian dream," Glenn said.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: You know the story of Portugal. Portugal had a really bad authoritarian regime back in the '70s. There was a bloodless coup. I think it was the Carnation Rebellion or something like that. Bloodless coup takeover. It went unstable for a while.

And drugs -- because they had -- Portugal had let go of all of their colonies, all of the soldiers come back -- and they being -- bring all kinds of drugs with them.

And so this liberalization of -- of -- or democratization of their country and the influx of all these guys coming in from all over the world with all these drugs, one percent of the Portuguese population was addicted to heroine. One percent.


STU: Wow.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: So they did what we do. And they did a War on Drugs. And it got worse. And so they made it even stronger. And another War on Drugs. And it got worse.

And so in -- I think it was 2001, they started something -- yeah, 2001, they started -- they decided, let's go the entirely opposite way. Let's decriminalize all drugs.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: So if you were found in possession of less than a ten-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroine, you would be sent to a three-person commission to talk about drug addiction. It was a lawyer, a doctor, and a social worker, and the commission would recommend treatment or a minor fine, otherwise you were sent off without penalty.

Vast majority of time, no penalty. You just go in front of these guys, and they were like, what were you doing? I don't know. I just had some drugs. My friends and I were going to party.

Okay. Go ahead.

If you're addicted to heroine, you get treatment. If you're addicted, you get treatment.

You know, if you're a criminal, then, you know, you might receive a penalty.

So what has -- what has happened? At first, things got worse. For the first year, everybody was like, "Heroine, I can buy it over-the-counter. I'm going to buy heroine." At first it got worse.

JEFFY: Which you would expect.

PAT: So they literally legalized --

GLENN: Everything.

STU: Well, they decriminalized it.

PAT: They decriminalized.

GLENN: They decriminalized.

So was it available without a prescription?


PAT: No.

GLENN: Yes. Well, you would just buy it, but it wasn't illegal to go to a drug dealer and buy it.

STU: Well, I mean, I think the way that works, you can't go buy it at stores. You can't go to like the heroine store. But if you get caught with it, they don't put you in prison.

GLENN: Correct.

PAT: Okay. That's decriminalization.

GLENN: It's still black market.

PAT: That's not legalizing. It's just saying, we find you with it, we're not going to put you in jail for it.

GLENN: Correct. So here is -- if you look at the charts -- I don't even know, how would you describe this chart, boy? This is the use of drugs, and these are the drug-induced deaths.

STU: Both dropped.

GLENN: Significantly.

STU: Yeah, particularly the deaths dropped significantly.

GLENN: It's actually working in Portugal. It's the Libertarian dream. It is stop spending all the money and spending the money on the war. Spending the money on prison. Spending the -- the time and energy, trying to stop the criminals across the border, which we are just making into billionaires. Stop it.

Do what we did with prohibition. Reverse it. And all of those problems go away. And let people handle it themselves with some government intervention, where if you're really seriously addicted, then we give you treatment.

He talked about treatment last night.

STU: Yeah, and it does seem like -- because there's been some reporting on the fact that they might go and start -- you know, implementing and following through with the federal laws on marijuana again. Because obviously a lot of states have decided on their own that they're no longer going to worry about marijuana.

PAT: And there's going to be more and more.

STU: And there's going to be more and more.

PAT: It's going to spread.

STU: Yes. However, it's still federally illegal. So if you're in Colorado and you have some, well, you might be okay with Colorado law, but you're not okay with federal law. And so they could still theoretically go and try to enforce that.

GLENN: Federal law -- federal law trumps --

PAT: Yes. As the supremacy clause notes, federal law does -- it doesn't -- they don't call it, it trumps the state law, but it supersedes. And they don't even say it supersedes, but it does. I mean, it just does.

STU: It does.

GLENN: Federal law is the law of the land.

PAT: Yes.

STU: So the current way -- with Obama, he basically -- and he didn't entirely ignore it. There were still some -- still some issues with that, that Libertarians complained about loudly. But overall, he basically said, well, if you're going to have it illegal there, we're not doing federal raids for marijuana.

GLENN: You can't -- we have to -- we have to justify our laws. We have to justify -- we have to decide. If the states are going that way, well, then -- I mean, you want to talk about states' rights. Nobody seems to have a problem with the states' rights there.

Then fine.

But you cannot have the federal law and the state law in conflict. You want to talk about a constitutional crisis -- everybody in the press was talking about a constitutional crisis. The first day that Donald Trump come in --

STU: He said something bad about. The media. Constitutional crisis! No, that's not a constitutional crisis.

GLENN: No, that's not a constitutional crisis. This is. This is a constitutional crisis.

PAT: Yeah, it is. When you have states and any municipality ignoring federal law with immigration, ignoring federal law with drug laws, you're going to have chaos.

GLENN: Right. So you have to -- the federal government has to decide: Are we going to hold these cities accountable for disagreeing, or are we going to change the federal law?

STU: Right. I mean, there's also, you know, Supreme Court element and other things that can happen before constitutional crisis. But, I mean, there is that -- it's a bizarre standard. And it's happening the same thing -- sanctuary cities are another example of it.

PAT: Yep.

STU: It's really the same premise.

It's not just the Twitter mobs, the Leftist extremists and the flagrant fourth-wave feminists who want ICE abolished. As we've seen, there's a growing number of politicians who want to see it as well.

Cue Alejandro Alvarez, who in his 32 years has managed to cultivate his brand as a "serial immigration violator." Alejandro has been deported 11 times. Well, he's facing deportation once again, after allegedly "slashing his wife with a chainsaw." His wife is in recovery and is expected to survive.

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Around 3:00 pm last Wednesday, police arrived at Alejandro's. When they arrived, they found Alvarez's wife suffering from "traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chainsaw." The couple's three children were huddled in fear inside the home. Alejandro's wife was rushed to a nearby trauma center for an emergency surgery.

Alejandro fled the scene of the crime, but was eventually hauled in by police and booked under "suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto."

Sounds like the kind of guy who should be in our country illegally, right?

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley noted that "Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody."

This is the new reality.

This is the new reality. The immigration agency has to ask for permission, to file requests, to have illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes dealt with. Luckily for Alejandro, Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, so maybe he'll get another pass and be back on the streets in no time.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Alabama law enforcement officials say that an illegal immigrant and an immigrant in the United States on a green card are responsible for the brutal murders of a grandmother and her 13-year-old special needs granddaughter in what investigators say is violence related to Mexican drug cartels.

The Purple Heart is reserved for those wounded or killed during battle. Awarded by the President, the medal has George Washington's image right there on the front of it. Make no mistake, it is reserved for heroes. True heroes. Men and women who've faced death and still persevered. Soldiers who fought in battle at the cost of their limbs, their lives, or their inner peace. John F. Kennedy earned a Purple Heart for his heroism as a gunboat pilot in 1944. John McCain received one for, well, we all know his horrific story. Colin Powell. Roughly one million Purple Heart medals have been awarded to veterans, all of whom were determined to have fought valiantly, with courage and heart.

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So it was a bit of a head-scratcher to hear comments from Democratic Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee and self-appointed "Leader in Effort to #ImpeachTrump." During a House Oversight Committee hearing questioning Peter Strzok, Cohen said, perplexingly, that Strzok deserves a Purple Heart. You know, because he's injured by all those mean text messages that HE sent?

As we've seen, other than Cohen's fanboy praise, Strzok hasn't gotten off easy. Thankfully. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General wrote: "We did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the [Anthony] Weiner laptop was free from bias."

Lack of confidence. I believe that's one of the criteria for a different medal. Not a Purple Heart, though. Sorry, Strzok, you'll have to get your trophy elsewhere.

Time mgazine is back at it again, reporting the real news, doing the proper journalism. One of their latest articles is sure to earn them a Pulitzer. Surely. The article is titled, "Women Are Buying Up Plan B Because They're Terrified of the Future Supreme Court."

Here's how the article opens:

Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement last month, Emily Hauser was standing at a drugstore counter asking a pharmacist for two packages of Plan B. At age 53, she didn't need the emergency contraception pills — in fact, she wasn't sure who would, or when. But Hauser bought them anyway.

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I like that the article sets up Kennedy's retirement as an apocalyptic event. A recurring theme in the mainstream media, now that I think of it, especially lately. Here's the gist of it:

Across the country, Americans are stockpiling emergency contraception in light of Justice Kennedy's retirement and President Donald Trump's Monday nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The nation's highest court is on its way to having a conservative majority, making threats against Roe v. Wade seem more dire than ever.

A good article includes backstory. History. The context. Here's what Time had to say about the sudden influx—some would say panic—in birth control:

To understand the interest in buying up Plan B, you need to brush up on Roe v. Wade. Some background: The court handed down the 7-2 decision in 1973, confirming that a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment. Progress has been rocky since then.

Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies.

Ah, yes. Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies. At this point, it's impossible for those inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, and now Kavanaugh Derangement Syndrome, to have a civil conversation. They certainly aren't going to budge in their opinion. Our main goal, obviously, is to connect to them as fellow human beings, living in the same chaotic world, and, hey, maybe along the way they'll admit that, maybe, they're a little more biased and deranged than they previously realized.

If all you knew about American politics came from The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, or MSNBC, you'd think that a "Blue wave" is about to swamp the country, with hip, millennial geniuses like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfing the crest of the wave. In fact, you would already think Ocasio-Cortez is the greatest hope for America since Barack Obama.

America is a very large country, and reality is usually more complex than the media lets on. But, since the media already has their narrative and superstar Ocasio-Cortez set for this November, there's no room for another young, minority, female, child of immigrants, political outsider, from the ultimate blue-wave state of California, named Elizabeth Heng. Well, there probably would be room for a story like that, except that she's a conservative.

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Thirty-two-year-old Elizabeth Heng is running for Congress against Democrat Jim Costa, in California's 16th district. It's been 40 years since a Republican won in that district.

In the early 1980s, Heng's parents fled the violence in Cambodia and immigrated to the U.S. In 2008, after graduating from Stanford where she was student-body president, Heng opened several cell-phone stores with her brothers in the central San Joaquin Valley. Running her own business and managing 75 employees opened her eyes to a not-so-dirty secret about capitalism trying to survive the virus of progressivism. She says, "I saw firsthand how government regulations impacted businesses negatively. I constantly felt that from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, they were saying that I was everything wrong with our country, when all I was doing was creating jobs."

That's when she decided to venture to Washington, D.C., where she worked for six years learning the ins and outs of legislation and campaigning. She ended up working as a director for President Trump's inauguration ceremony, a job she managed while also finishing her MBA at Yale.

Fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone.

One of the biggest lessons she learned working in Washington became the platform she is now running for office on: fiscal responsibility. She says, "In a family or a business, we don't suddenly act surprised when a budget comes up for the year. We get it done."

What a concept.

Still, fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone. So, don't expect Elizabeth Heng to replace Ocasio-Cortez as the media darling anytime soon.