From Richard Branson
In 2001 Portugal became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
Jail time was replaced with offer of therapy. (The argument was that the fear of prison drives
addicts underground and that incarceration is much more expensive than treatment).
Five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.
It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.