Is Decriminalisation Enough?

Drug User Community Voices from Portugal

Published in 2018 by

Is Decriminalisation Enough? Drug User Community Voices from Portugal

This is the first community-driven evaluation of the outcomes of Portugal’s decriminalisation of people who use drugs. Introduced in 2001, Portugal’s model of decriminalisation has been hugely influential and is frequently referred to as an example of legislative reform that has improved public health, social order, and the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs.

This document builds on INPUD’s Consensus Statement on Drug Use Under Prohibition: Human Rights, Health, and the Law. Our Consensus Statement collates a declaration of 10 rights of people who use drugs that are commonly violated. In order to realise these fundamental human rights, INPUD emphasised a list of 24 demands which must be met, the first of which is decriminalisation: “People who use drugs, and drug use, must be decriminalised.” Our Consensus Statement was driven by global consultations with representatives of drug user rights organisations all over the world, and their emphasis on the importance of decriminalising both drug use and people who use drugs was consistently and vocally articulated.

This document therefore demonstrates the outcomes, both the positives and the shortcomings, of Portugal’s model of decriminalisation.

Importantly, it establishes that Portugal’s decriminalisation of people who use drugs is not – as is claimed – a full decriminalisation.

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