Sanity and Compassion Abroad –

August 31, 2018 – In my work as an addiction medicine doctor in New York City, I became familiar with Portugal’s then radical yet effective response to the “war on drugs” – a war which the Global Commission on Drug Policy declared a “colossal failure.” Through generous facilitation by the late Dr. Robert Newman – a pioneer in addiction medicine whose remarkable life was eloquently captured in the NY Times obituary – and collaborators at the Drug Policy Alliance, I was connected to several key architects of Portugal’s drug policy reform movement. I packed my bags for Lisbon. What I learned was simultaneously sensible and transformative. In “How to Win a War on Drugs,” published in the NY Times September 2017, Nicholas Kristof describes the impact of Portugal’s decriminalization. Heroin is still illegal, just like it is in the U.S. and Canada. However, unlike in North America, a person possessing and using heroin in Portugal will not be arrested and incarcerated

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