Governance Justice BLOG: "This Is Working" - Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs

June 11, 2015 - 10:02am

Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results. In an article originally published in Der Spiegel, author Wiebke Hollersen charts the course of decriminalization through the perspective of one of its chief proponents and architects, Portuguese anti-drug commissioner João Goulão. "Decriminalization is pointless," says Goulão, "without being accompanied by prevention programs, drug clinics and social work conducted directly on the streets." 

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