Portugal ends drug prohibition and addiction declines

According to AFP 1 July 2011, Portugal drug law show results ten years on, experts say
Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.

“This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.”

Portugal’s holistic approach had also led to a “spectacular” reduction in the number of infections among intravenous users and a significant drop in drug-related crimes, he added.

So what did they do?
A law that became active on July 1, 2001 did not legalise drug use, but forced users caught with banned substances to appear in front of special addiction panels rather than in a criminal court.

The panels composed of psychologists, judges and social workers recommended action based on the specifics of each case.

Since then, government panels have recommended a response based largely on whether the individual is an occasional drug user or an addict.

Of the nearly 40,000 people currently being treated, “the vast majority of problematic users are today supported by a system that does not treat them as delinquents but as sick people,” Goulao said.

Now there’s a concept!

A concept that won’t provide more customers for private prison companies like CCA. Which is a good thing! No private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Use that tax money for rehabilitation and education.


1 thought on “Portugal ends drug prohibition and addiction declines

  1. William A. Branham

    It cost more to incarcerate than to educate! The Southeast has a disproportionate share of air pollution problems. Ten of the top 25 cities most polluted with smog (ozone) are located in the Southeast. The health and livelihoods of more than 36 million Americans living in the region are severely threatened. Pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants significantly contributes to poor air quality. The lives of nearly 10,000 people are cut-short every year due to particular matter pollution. This pollution causes ecological harm by inhibiting plant growth, changing the acidity in soil and damaging plants. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

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