In 2001, Portugal did the unthinkable: They decriminalized drug use. 16 years later, Portugal has gone from one of the highest rates of drug use to one of the lowest. How did this happen? They built a better mousetrap (environment).
Remember that study years ago with a mouse in a cage with one bottle of water and the other with cocaine? If not, the mouse kept going to the bottle of cocaine until death. Subsequently, a researcher built a better mousetrap (literally). Unlike the first study that had nothing in the cage, this cage had everything a mouse could derive pleasure from: other mice, lots of things to play on and with, etc. This time the mouse did not go to the cocaine.
As I mentioned, Portugal decriminalized drugs 16 years ago and drug use has significantly decreased, but they did more. Portugal provided opportunities for its disenfranchised citizens, which provided hope for people to have better lives. Thus the need to get high in an attempt to escape a hopeless future was no longer there.
Every country should follow Portugal’s model on substance abuse.