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Briefing paper: The Effects of Decriminalization of Drug Use in Portugal

This Briefing Paper offers an overview of the effects of decriminalisation of drug posession for personal use in Portugal. It presents a mitigated balance that highlights the importance of coordination with the wider drug policy strategy.

In 2004, the Beckley Foundation reported on the legal changes that took place in Portugal in 2001 (Allen, Trace & Klein 2004). This report aims to provide an updated overview of the effects of these changes, using data from the evaluations that have been carried out and from new interviews with key stakeholders in Portugal. We reviewed the available evaluative reports (Moreira, Trigueiros & Antunes 2007; Tavares, Graça, Martins & Asensio 2005; Trigo de Roza 2007) and also carried out 11 interviews with key stakeholders in October 2007. These included representatives of the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (the government body in charge of researching and responding to drug addiction and use), non-governmental organisations, political parties and national and international drug researchers.