Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Learning from a Health and Human-Centered Approach

Report, Video February 20, 2019

Since Portugal enacted drug decriminalization in 2001, the number of people voluntarily entering treatment has increased significantly, overdose deaths and HIV infections among people who use drugs have plummeted, incarceration for drug-related offenses has decreased, and rates of problematic and adolescent drug use has fallen.

In a moment when the U.S. is facing an overdose crisis and threats to drug policy reform by the current administration, learning from Portugal’s accomplishments is especially timely and valuable.

In March 2018, the Drug Policy Alliance led a delegation of 70 U.S. advocates to Portugal to learn from its health and human-centered approach to drug use. The trip provided an opportunity for drug policy reform advocates to appreciate how effective a dramatically different approach to drugs can be.

Read the briefing paper about our Portugal visit.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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