All drugs are decriminalised.
That includes weed – cocaine – heroin – everything.
When Portugal decided to decriminalise all drugs in 2001 a lot of people worried drug consumption would skyrocket.
More than a decade and a half’s worth of data now shows the opposite happened.
As of July 2001 all drugs are decriminalised.
This does not mean drugs are legal; it means consuming them is not a crime.
If you are caught doing drugs you get a medical referral rather than a criminal record or a prison sentence.
Instead of being arrested drug users are ordered to appear before ‘dissuasion panels”‘made up of legal – social and psychological professionals.
The country treats drugs like a public health issue rather than a criminal issue.
‘We had a lot of criticism at first’ recalled Dr João Goulão – the architect of the country’s decriminalisation policy.
But the country was in crisis – with the highest rate of drug-related Aids deaths in the EU in 1999 – so something needed to change.
‘Criminalisation certainly wasn’t working all that well’ Goulão told Der Spiegel in 2013.