The State of Play
We've wandered the world to see how others fare - to the countries and cities where governments don't feel the need to wear the same platernalistic cape as their Australian counterparts; the places where personal - accountability remains an actual things.
It was in 2001, after many years fighting an increasingly fierce war on drugs, that the Portuguese government decriminalised every last one of what Australian authorities refer to as illegal substances. This doesn’t mean it’s a junkie free-for-all – fines exist for possession and selling can still land you jail time. But the addiction is viewed (rightly) as a health issue, which means users are ushered toward counselling and rehabilitation, not prison. Fifteen years on, drug use among 15 to 24-year-olds has declined; drug-induced deaths have plummeted, so too the HIV rate among injecting users; not to mention less people simply trying drugs full stop.
A progressive and attractive land on many fronts. In fact, our only real gripe is that blinding national colour – orange so very hard to accessorise. The Dutch were the first country in the world to ‘allow’ – for want of a better term – homosexual adults to make their own decision as to whether they wished to be married or not. This happened in late 2000; was implemented in 2001. That’s 16 years ago. Here, after the failed (and largely unwanted) plebiscite, talk continues about the next steps. Sadly, it seems such talk, and not action, will continue for some time.