Politics

Tackling the opioid epidemic: lessons from portugal

Portugal boasts one of the lowest rates of overdose deaths in the European Union. How did they do it?

The streets of Lisbon, Portugal were once described as littered with syringes. During the 1990s, this southern European country roughly the size of Maine had one of the worst drug epidemics in the world. In Portugal, drugs are decriminalized, which means that if someone is found by the police with up to a certain amount of drugs in their possession, up to ten days worth of drugs in their possession, it’s treated as an administrative violation, rather than a criminal violation. It means people appear before a committee, and that committee works with the person to figure out a solution that works for them. This solution could be community service, it could be a fine, it could be a referral to treatment, it could be a warning. They deal with it in an administrative capacity, more like a parking violation or a speeding ticket rather than sending someone to prison and having them have an arrest and a criminal record… if someone is selling drugs, if someone is trafficking drugs, if someone has more than 10 days worth of drugs in their possession, then they are treated through the traditional criminal system, they are prosecuted as criminals, and they get those subsequent consequences as well.

Original Article (RIPR):
Tackling The Opioid Epidemic: Lessons From Portugal
Artwork Fair Use: Guillaume Jacquenot Gjacquenot

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