What Can Ireland Learn From Portugal’s Drug Policy?

This week a delegation from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality travelled to Portugal to learn about its drugs policy, and to assess the impact of the changes that were implemented over a decade ago.

The delegation also visited the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) which this week launched its 2015 report

The following politicians makeup the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality:


Drugs Rarely Kill Anyone in Portugal

Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it -- Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program -- not jail time and a criminal record.


EU drug agency sees no U.S.-like cannabis legalization moves

European Union countries are unlikely to legalize marijuana any time soon as some parts of the United States have done recently, EU drug monitoring agency chief Wolfgang Gotz said on Thursday.

He did not spell out why he expected no corresponding EU moves. But in a statement, his agency said a key finding in its latest annual report was a "marked rise in the potency and purity of Europe's most commonly used illicit drugs, fuelling concerns for the health of users who, wittingly or unwittingly, may be consuming stronger products".

It also pointed out an increase in the numbers of cannabis-related health emergencies in Europe between 2008 and 2012.


Portugal's drug users switch to super-powered cannabis

In the past three years, requests for help related to the use of cannabis have outstripped those for of heroin and cocaine.

This is one of the greatest changes in the inevitable flip side of Portugal’s drug scene, the treatment of those whose use has become out of control.

The head of European Monitoring Unit for Drugs and Drug Addiction, JoĂŁo GoulĂŁo, spoke at the launch the 2015 edition of the 'European Report on Drugs' today in Lisbon.

Speaking to reporters after presenting the report, GoulĂŁo said "the situation in Portugal has been notable for the prevalence of heroin for many years," but that there has been a reduction in the importance of heroin and a "growing importance" in cannabis.


Marijuana remains European Union's most used drug, report says

LISBON, Portugal -- Marijuana continues to be the European Union's most commonly used drug, with almost 79 million EU citizens estimated to have tried it at some point in their lives, the bloc's drug agency said in a report published Thursday.

That is almost a quarter of the EU's adult population and compares with some 15.6 million who have tried cocaine, the second most popular drug, the Lisbon, Portugal-based agency said.

The annual European Drug Report said marijuana accounts for 80 per cent of drug seizures on the continent and 60 per cent of all reported drug law offences.



After the Block proposed in 2013 the legalize of cannabis cultivation for personal consumption and creation of social cannabis clubs, the new draft law was presented once again by the Left Bloc,  and was rejected in general this Friday in the National Assembly. The PCP joined their vote of right-wing parties, PSD and CDS to reject the Block project. PS and the Greens abstained, but 10 socialist deputies voted in favour.


Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets

As the once-vilified drug becomes more accepted, researchers around the world are trying to understand how it works and how it might fight disease.

There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.

In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.


Europe Cannabis: "Morocco" is "out" - "Indoor" is "in"

As for the European market for cannabis (EMCDDA), according to the result of the EU drugs agency in Lisbon in recent years there is a major change: "Morocco" is virtually "out", "indoor" plantations are "in". The Cannabis plants are increasingly grown locally for the local market. This is especially dangerous for those behind the smuggling are bypassed.

The numbers have changed little in recent years. For example, 24 percent of the Viennese have at least once consumed hemp products, 13 percent within the past three years, six percent in the last 30 days. This is what the "drug monitoring study" found in the past year.

Consumption pervades all age groups


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.


Cannabis More Than 100 Times Safer Than Alcohol, Study Finds

You are 114 times more likely to die from overdosing on alchohol than you are from cannabis, a recent study has found.

The report, published in Scientific Reports journal, compared the risks associated with 10 substances using the margin of exposure approach. This method compares a lethal dose of the drug with the dosage typically taken by recreational users. Substances tested included alcohol and nicotine, as well as illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (MDMA) and methamphetamines.


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