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Q&A: could Portugal’s drug reforms work in the UK?

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed that their 2015 manifesto will contain radical proposals for drug policy reform. Many of the measures echo the approach taken in Portugal, where a policy of decriminalisation was put into practice in 2001.

Drugs policy expert Susanne MacGregor from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains what reforms like these would mean for the UK.

 

What is Portugal’s drugs policy?

In 2001, Portugal reformed its drug policies to address public concern around problematic drug use, especially intravenous heroin use. A government-appointed expert commission proposed decriminalising possession of any illicit drug for personal use, which is defined as the amount an average user would consume in a ten-day period.

Responsibility for the drugs strategy switched from the Justice Ministry to the Ministry of Health, and policy was refocused to address users’ needs for treatment. Commissions for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction were set up, consisting of a...

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URL: 
http://theconversation.com/qanda-could-portugals-drug-reforms-work-in-the-uk-38181