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A funny thing happens when drugs are legalized: Violence and crime happen a lot less.

After trillions of dollars spent, the "war on drugs" clearly is not working and ruining lives. Are there other options? Ayup.

A funny thing happens when drugs are legalized: Violence and crime happen a lot less.
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Open Society Foundations

"Why aren't drugs legal?" asks this video, smartly, from BITE News:

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Don't have time to watch the whole thing? Here's a quick breakdown.


"Let's be real: Legal or not, people do drugs." And what the video says is true. 33% of adults have taken an illegal drug.

20% of people 16 to 24 years old have admitted taking drugs in the last year. That's 1 in 5.

So how can we safely regulate drugs? (Since keeping everything illegal hasn't accomplished much except imprisoning a lot of people...)

All governments together have spent several trillion dollars on the international war on drugs in the last 20 years. What has it accomplished? Black-market violence, public health crises, massive imprisonment of people ... if this were an actual war, guess who would be on the losing side? Yep ... the people. As in taxpayers and citizens. Us.

But there are some bright spots.

Portugal decriminalized small amounts of drugs for personal use. The result? Fewer drug crimes and fewer people dying.

In the United States, 20 states have decriminalized marijuana, and many more will over the next five years.

Those states and the states that have fully legalized it have seen increased tax revenue from crops and regulation of the industry. And it's generating millions of dollars for those who work and invest in the production and distribution of it. Capitalism much?

Switzerland in the 1990s had one of the highest rates of HIV infection in Europe when it came up with the brilliant idea of giving out heroin prescriptions in community-based treatment programs. It worked.

Heroin use went down, and new HIV infections declined by 87%. Yes, 87%. That's pretty huge.

A lot of countries have been a little afraid of trying new approaches. At the time, the United Nations wrongly accused Switzerland of encouraging criminals by attempting this experiment, which of course is not the case, given the data.

We should hold up the countries that are doing it right (or are starting to ... right, USA?) as shining examples of how to deal with drug use by citizens.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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