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

Stevens, Alex, 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. (doi:10.1093/bjc/azq038) (KAR id:29910)

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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
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/bjc/azq038
Uncontrolled keywords: decriminalization, Portugal, drug, policy, legislation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV5800 Drug habits and abuse
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Taryn Duhig
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 13:20 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Stevens, Alex:
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