While countries like the U.S.—and Italy (outside San Patrignano)—have struggled with drug addiction, Portugal has crafted some of the most effective treatment programs in the world. In some ways, its success begins with appreciating, and rebuilding, the layers in a person’s spirit. And be forewarned, the first step is very controversial: de-criminalizing the drugs.
On the Northeastern coast of Italy, not far from meccas of refinement such as Bologna and Florence, an unusual drug treatment community named San Patrignano has grown and thrived for more than 40 years. The program’s methodology? Teach addicts high-level artisanal skills, and slowly but surely, confidence and pride fill what was once a desperate void.
In Providence, Rhode Island, Janice McDonnell started one of the unlikeliest of revolutions. On seven empty lots in the inner city, she set up a new kind of playground—places where kids could build anything they want, break anything they want. Her larger goals? To fight the disappearance of play brought on by the relentless testing that’s become the norm in today’s schools—and to spread playful opportunities beyond rich white families.