What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalization of illicit drugs?

Stevens, Alex and Hughes, Caitlin Elizabeth (2010) What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalization of illicit drugs? British Journal of Criminology, 50 (6). pp. 999-1022. ISSN 0007-0955. (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azq038

Abstract

The issue of decriminalizing illicit drugs is hotly debated, but is rarely subject to evidence-based analysis. This paper examines the case of Portugal, a nation that decriminalized the use and possession of all illicit drugs on 1 July 2001. Drawing upon independent evaluations and interviews conducted with 13 key stakeholders in 2007 and 2009, it critically analyses the criminal justice and health impacts against trends from neighbouring Spain and Italy. It concludes that contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding. The article discusses these developments in the context of drug law debates and criminological discussions on late modern governance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: decriminalization, Portugal, drug, policy, legislation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV5800 Drug use and miuse
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Taryn Duhig
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 13:20
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2014 15:40
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/29910 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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