• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

Portugal Program for the Decriminalization of all Drugs

Portugal Approach to Decrim the Simple Possession of all Drugs (2001-2020)

The Decriminalization of all drugs took place in Portugal in the summer of 2001. The law maintains the illegality of drug possession. However, instead of being a crime to possess up to a 10-day supply, it became an administrative infraction (roughly like a parking ticket).

Possible Sanctions:

• Fines, ranging from €25 to €150. These figures are based on the Portuguese minimum wage of about €485 (Banco de Portugal, 2001) and translate into hours of work lost.
• Suspension of the right to practice if the user has a licensed profession (e.g. medical doctor, taxi driver) and may endanger another person or someone’s possessions.
• Ban on visiting certain places (e.g. specific clubbing venues).
• Ban on associating with specific other persons.
• Foreign travel ban.
• Requirement to report periodically to the committee. Portugal Decrim of Drugs
• Withdrawal of the right to carry a gun.
• Confiscation of personal possessions.
• Cessation of subsidies or allowances that a person receives from a public agency.

• Increased uptake of treatment (roughly 60% increase as of 2012.)[12]
• Reduction in new HIV diagnoses amongst drug users by 17%[19] and a general drop of 90% in drug-related HIV infection
• Reduction in drug related deaths, although this reduction has decreased in later years. The number of drug related deaths is now almost on the same level as before the drug strategy was implemented.[12][19] However, this may be accounted for by improvement in measurement practices, which includes a doubling of toxicological autopsies now being performed, meaning that more drugs related deaths are likely to be recorded.[20]
• Reported lifetime use of “all illicit drugs” increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine use more than doubled, from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy nearly doubled from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin increased from 0.7% to 1.1%[19] It has been proposed[by whom?] that this effect may have been related to the candor of interviewees, who may have been inclined to answer more truthfully due to a reduction in the stigma associated with drug use.[20] However, during the same period, the use of heroin and cannabis also increased in Spain and Italy, where drugs for personal use was decriminalized many years earlier than in Portugal [20][21] while the use of Cannabis and heroin decreased in the rest of Western Europe.[22][23] The increase in drug use observed among adults in Portugal was not greater than that seen in nearby countries that did not change their drug laws.[24]
• Drug use among adolescents (13-15 yrs) and “problematic” users declined.[20]
• Drug-related criminal justice workloads decreased.[20]
• Decreased street value of most illicit drugs, some significantly
• The # of drug related deaths has reduced from 131 in 2001 to 20 in 2008. As of 2012, Portugal’s drug death toll sat at 3 per million, in comparison to the EU average of 17.3 per million.
• Homicide rate increased from 1.13 per 100 000 in 2000 to 1.76 in 2007, then decreased to 0.96 in 2015

Respectfully Submitted,

Howard J. Wooldridge, Drug Policy Specialist @ CitizensOpposingProhibition.org (817-975-1110)

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