Drug dependency: is it a health or criminal issue?
It has been 16 years since Portugal decriminalized drug possession and in that time there has been a lot of talk and at times misrepresentation of the facts.
The truth is in that time there has been a significant improvement to the drug problem in Portugal, most notably in substance related deaths and HIV rates. This is not solely due to the decriminalisation of possessing drugs, it also has to do with the whole country looking at substance use and users through a health care model and creating social change.
- If you wish to understand more about the outcomes over the last 16 years for Portugal, you can read this research paper.
- Alex Wodak brings the message home – by discussing society changing its views on substance use and viewing it as a health and social issue not as a criminal issue.
- Ted Noffs discusses understanding drug dependency through the disease model and how that became the status quo.
- Gino Vumbaca President of Harm Reduction Australia discusses some of the short comings in Australian Drug Policy.