Will Drug Decriminalization Save Lives?

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Should more states -- or even the entire country -- follow Oregon and decriminalize all drugs? The Doctors and our experts discuss if this approach could save lives.

Neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart is all for this approach and feels there will be a decrease in arrests related to drug use and that saved money could then be used to help people. He also tells us the stigma surrounding drug use could be improved from decriminalization. Dr. Hart contends the vast majority of drug effects are positive and says the negative effects have more to do with drugs being illegal in most parts of the country, noting if drugs are given in a controlled and regulated way there is usually less of a risk to the user.

Anti-drug legalization activist Will Jones III disagrees with what Orgeon did and tells The Doctors he is a proponent of removing criminal penalties for personal possession and use of drugs, but is against the full legalization of drugs. He calls full legalization "a disaster for public health." Will feels many people, especially in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, are unable to use drugs responsibly, and legalization and normalization will only create further drug use issues.    

Dr. Hart notes he is calling for drug regulation and not blanket legalization, explaining education and numerous requirements would need to be met before anyone had access to these drugs.

Hear more from this spirit drug debate, including how people with a history of addiction in their family and those with potential mental health concerns might be affected by the decriminalization of drugs, in the video below.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.

Watch: Should Drug Use be Regulated and Made Safer for People to Use?

Watch: Will Legalization Increase Drug Use?

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