Fight Against Drugs By Decriminalization – The Case Of Portugal Cover Image

Borba protiv droge putem dekriminalizacije – slučaj Portugalije
Fight Against Drugs By Decriminalization – The Case Of Portugal

Author(s): Jovan Ćirić
Subject(s): Criminal Law, Substance abuse and addiction, Health and medicine and law, Penal Policy
Published by: Institut za uporedno pravo
Keywords: drugs; Portugal; medical treatment; decriminalization; personal use; statistical data;

Summary/Abstract: Portugal in the nineties had big problems with drugs. The number of those who were addicted was very high, also, like the number of deaths by the reason of overdose, or the number of those infected by HIV. Having in mind all of that, the government of Portugal built a new strategy for the fight against drugs. The law on drugs was adopted in 2001. That new law is based on some kind of decriminalization / depenalization. The main innovation was that the person who was found in the possession of 10 daily doses of drugs (never mind of what drugs) for his/her personal use was not prosecuted before classical court and was not put in jail, but he/she was treated by one special panel (tribunal) composed of three persons: one social worker, one lawyer and one physician (usually psychiatrist). That panel has the right to decide what to do with a person who was found in the possession of drugs, but usually that person was sent to some medical institution to be medically treated. So, people were not afraid that they would be sent to the jail and that they would be stigmatized as criminals. One of the main idea was to encourage addicted people to go to hospitals to be medically treated. Many data that was recently collected say that all numbers when the word is about drugs decreased significantly. The word is about the number of those who tried drugs, also like the number of deaths caused by drugs. Nowadays, those numbers are not so high in Portugal like it was before. The situation is similar also when the word is about the number of those with the problem of HIV / AIDS and also when the word is about general statistics of crime committed in the relation with drugs. So, generally, it could be said that new law and strategy in Portugal gave good results in the fight against drugs, even though there are some institutions and organizations, like WFAD (World Federation Against Drugs) that say that the situation is not so good. But some other institutions, like Open Society Fund, CATO Institute, some scientific articles in journals of criminology, present different statistical results. The question of fight against drugs, depends very much on the ideology. Liberals usually say one thing, but conservatives say something completely different. Anyway, it is very important to have in mind Portugal and the situation in Portugal, because from there, we could conclude many things that are important in the fight against drugs.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 308-318
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Serbian