Portugal Drung Decriminalisation

My Perfect Country: Portugal

Today, whilst drugs remain illegal, users do not receive a criminal record and are instead referred to rehabilitation and treatment programmes

Published: Thursday 18 February, 2016



'My Perfect Country' is a new six-part series in which UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) team up with BBC World Service to build the ‘perfect country’. The series is presented by broadcaster and writer Fi Glove, Martha Lane Fox and Director of UCL IGP Professor Henrietta Moore.

The third episode of 'My Perfect Country' focuses on Portgual and its legalised drug policy (first broadcasted on 18 February 2016).

In 2001 the use of all drugs was decriminalised meaning possession of drugs was now identified as a public health issue rather than a criminal offence. Today, whilst drugs remain illegal, users do not receive a criminal record and are instead referred to rehabilitation and treatment programmes. Drug related deaths, HIV infection rates and use of legal highs are at an all-time low.

This edition of My Perfect Country traces the development of the policy over the last 15 years and asks whether other countries should use this model for their own legislation on drug control. The architect of Portugal’s policy Joao Goulao explains how the policy was implemented and Doctor Rodrigo Coutinho explains how it was taken on by health services. Our roving ambassador hears from the volunteers of mobile units that doesn’t wait for patients to come to them and hears emotional recovery stories from former users. The My Perfect Country panel of presenter Fi Glover, academic Henrietta Moore, professor Alex Stevens from Kent University of Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey drug project in Ireland discuss how far Portugal’s policy has been successful and whether it would work in the perfect country..

Visit the ‘My Perfect Country: Portugal’-site to listen to the episode.



Share this article:




Recent Posts

Time for a new prosperity, rooted in a symbiotic relationship with nature

Commentary

The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”

Read More

Co-designing solutions to Lebanon’s energy crisis

Commentary

On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.

Read More

Reinvigorating local economies through Universal Basic Services, not income

Commentary

In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.

Read More