Why hardly anyone dies from a drug overdose in Portugal

From the Washington Post: Why hardly anyone dies from a drug overdose 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. (…)

The prevalence of past-year and past-month drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which advocates on behalf of ending the war on drugs. Overall adult use is down slightly too. And new HIV cases among drug users are way down. [continue]

This is great news for Portugal, but it makes me feel so frustrated about our approach to drug use in Canada. I’d like to be in charge long enough to change a few laws, and to make narcan available to paramedics and members of the general public. I think that would save a lot of lives.

2 thoughts on “Why hardly anyone dies from a drug overdose in Portugal

  1. What amazed me about this article was the disproportionate number of drug-related deaths in Estonia. I know little about the country but wonder what has led to this situation.

    The article also makes an interesting case for decriminalising drugs but as the conclusion points out, the decrease in deaths is not necessarily solely related to the decriminalisation.

    • I don’t know what the heck is going on in Estonia; I wondered about that, too.

      >the decrease in deaths is not necessarily solely related to the decriminalisation.

      Yes, that is an important point, and I like the fact that Portugal has done a number of things to address the problem.

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