Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use
In 2000, the Portuguese government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a “war on drugs” approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependence under the Ministry of Health, rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response toward drug-dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals, to treating them as patients.
Drug Policy in Portugal: The Benefits of Decriminalizing Drug Use is the second in a series of reports by the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program that documents positive examples of drug policy reform around the world (the first being From the Mountaintops: What the World Can Learn from Drug Policy Change in Switzerland). Drug Policy in Portugal describes the process, context, ideas, and values that enabled Portugal to make the transition to a public health response to drug use and possession. Now, with a decade of experience, Portugal provides a valuable case study of how decriminalization coupled with evidence-based strategies can reduce drug consumption, dependence, recidivism, and HIV infection, and create safer communities for all.
This report, by award-winning journalist Artur Domoslawski, is available for download in English, German, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Drug Policy in Portugal (English) (448.86 Kb pdf file)
Download the complete 52-page report.
Polityka narkotykowa w Portugalii: Korzyści wynikające z dekryminalizacji używania narkotyków (670.62 Kb pdf file)
Download the complete 52-page report in Polish.
Política da Droga em Portugal: Os Benefícios da Descriminalização do Consumo de Drogas (451.28 Kb pdf file)
Download the complete 60-page report in Portuguese.
Drogenpolitik in Portugal: Die Vorteile einer Entkriminalisierung des Drogenkonsums (503.14 Kb pdf file)
Download the complete 36-page report in German.
Política sobre Drogas en Portugal: Beneficios de la Descriminalización del Consumo de Drogas (461.33 Kb pdf file)
Download the complete 64-page report in Spanish. (Updated: February 18, 2016)
Broken Promises in Colombia's Coca Fields
A program to help coca growers find new legal ways to make a living has largely failed to deliver. Disillusioned farmers now need the government to hold up its end of the bargain.
The Uncounted Victims of the War on Drugs
It’s time for policymakers, civil society, and the public at large to have a serious conversation about the racialization of antidrug policy. Getting reliable data is a crucial first step.
How Racism and Inequality Are Influencing the Rise of Legalized Cannabis in the United States
As the legal cannabis industry in the United States continues its explosive growth, a new documentary raises challenging but vital questions about the interaction between drug policy, racism, mass incarceration, and justice.