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Synopsis of report:
The rate of drug consumption has continued to increase in New Zealand. It is an epidemic which needs to be controlled because it is harmful to individual health and society when drug related actions become violent and harm others. The current approach to preventing
drug use is punitive, it relies on punishment, such as imprisonment to discourage consumption. This is an expensive approach which has proven to be unsuccessful. An alternative should be employed. In this report, through a comparative institutional analysis I have presented a successful model of deterrence through decriminalization of personal use and possession. This model has been successful in Portugal as of 2001 and it
has decreased recidivism astoundingly. There is a lesson to be learnt, individuals respond better to systems which act in their best interest. Through appropriate treatment, the user can get the appropriate help against their drug dependency. Incarceration cannot provide that help. Treatment is also less expensive. It would be illogical for the government not to consider using such an approach in New Zealand just because of their zero tolerance to crime beliefs, which is inherently, unrealistic and impossible. One must be pragmatic and strategic in this time, with understanding and knowledge decriminalization is possible.
This report is intended for departments of health, correction and anyone with an interest in justice, fairness, rights and the decriminalization of drug use and possession.