The final bill decriminalizes the possession and use of very small quantities of drugs. Rather than reducing drug use, criminalizing substance users increases stigma, drives people away from needed treatment and harm reduction services, and amplifies the risk of fatal overdoses and diseases. This bill would keep some drug users — those possessing minimal amounts — out of the criminal justice system, thereby saving critical resources and avoiding the costs of saddling more Maryland citizens with criminal records and their adverse consequences. In 2001, Portugal became the first country to eliminate criminal penalties for low-level possession and use of illicit drugs, and it has not resulted in increased drug use or crime. Rather, it has actually reduced rates of HIV/AIDs and overdose, increased the number of people in treatment, and reduced social costs of drug misuse.