Drug use, petty crime decreased in Portugal since decriminalising drugs

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jul 2017, 6:58AM
(Getty Images).

Drug use, petty crime decreased in Portugal since decriminalising drugs

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jul 2017, 6:58AM

Drug use and petty crime have decreased in Portugal since drugs were decriminalised there in 2001.

A two-day symposium on the issue of decriminalisation is finishing today at Parliament.

The Drug Foundation wants an overhaul of the Misuse of Drugs Act and a regulated cannabis market.

Portuguese national drugs coordinator João Goulão told Andrew Dickens there's been a decrease in drug use, especially among young people, since it's been treated as a health issue since 2001.

He said drug use is still prohibited in Portugal, but is not a criminal offence.

Mr Goulão said the efficiency of Police and Customs has also increased "because they got rid of all the tasks concerning to users, and they could address the real criminal organisations."

There's also been a decrease in HIV infections since drugs were decriminalised, Mr Goulão said.

LISTEN ABOVE AS PORTUGUESE NATIONAL DRUGS COORDINATOR JOAO GOULAO SPEAKS TO ANDREW DICKENS ON EARLY EDITION

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