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30 items
  1. A Quiet Revolution

    • Ari Rosmarin, Niamh Eastwood
    01 Marzo 2016
    Report

    Many countries continue to incarcerate and criminalise people for possession or use of drugs, with criminalisation alone undermining employment, education and housing opportunities. In addition, many people who use drugs are often subject to human rights abuses by the state in jurisdictions which continue to criminalise them. The continued targeting of this group has not only a negative impact on the individuals in question, but their families and broader society as a whole. 

  2. The science of decriminalizing drugs

    02 Febrero 2015
    Other news

    The legal landscape for marijuana has never looked this relaxed. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. voted during the recent election season to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

  3. Portugal: Ten years after decriminalization

    Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
    26 Noviembre 2012
    Article

    In 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocussing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective?

  4. Will reducing or removing the criminal penalties for drug possession lead to greater use?

    29 Junio 2012
    Other news

    We should decriminalise the possession of drugs for personal use for the following simple reasons: (1) If users are addicted then they are ill, and criminal sanctions are an inappropriate way to deal with an illness; (2) If they are not addicted then criminalisation will almost always lead to greater harms to the user than the effects of the drug. For example, it can severely limit career options in public service and prevent travel to some countries particularly the USA.

  5. parlamento-portugal

    A resounding success or a disastrous failure

    • Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes, Alex Stevens
    05 Enero 2012

    Two observers and scholars of the 2001 Portuguese drug policy reform consider divergent accounts of the reform which viewed it as a ‘resounding success’ or a ‘disastrous failure’. Acknowledging from their own experience the inherent difficulties in studying drug law reform, Caitlin Hughes and Alex Stevens take the central competing claims of the protagonists and consider them against the available data.They remind us of the way all sides of the drug policy debates call upon and alternatively use or misuse ‘evidence’ to feed into discussions of the worth, efficacy and desirability of different illicit drug policies.In doing so they provide pause for thought for those of us who operate as drug policy researchers and drug policy advocates.

    Download the publication (PDF)

  6. parlamento-portugal

    Drug Policy in Portugal

    • Artur Domoslawski
    31 Agosto 2011

    In 2000, the Portuguese government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a "war on drugs" approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependence under the Ministry of Health, rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response toward drug dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals, to treating them as patients.

     

     

  7. parlamento-portugal

    Dug Policy Profile Portugal

    • Maria Moreira, Brendan Hughes, Claudia Costa Storti, Frank Zobel
    23 Junio 2011

    This profile describes the national drug policy of Portugal, a policy that has attracted significant attention recently in the media and in policy debates. It considers national strategies and action plans, the legal context within which they operate and the public funds spent, or committed, to resource them. It also describes the political bodies and mechanisms set up to coordinate the response to the multi-faceted problem and the systems of evaluation that may help to improve future policy. The profile puts this information in context by outlining the size, wealth and economic situation of the country as a whole, as well as the historical development of the current policy.

     

  8. Time to decriminalise drugs?

    • J P de V van Niekerk
    01 Febrero 2011

    The drug trade has increased globally in intensity and reach, and substance abuse in South Africa has escalated rapidly. Drug misuse is a major social, legal and public health challenge despite the war on drugs, in which the USA has a disproportionate influence. Why this lack of progress and what can be done about it?

     

  9. TNI-EMCDDA Expert Seminar on Threshold Quantities

    20 Enero 2011

    A wider trend for drug law reform is arising out of a felt need to make legislation more effective and more humane. Within this trend, a number of countries have considered decriminalisation or depenalisation models and many have, at least initially, considered threshold quantities as a good way to distinguish between what is possession and what is supply or trafficking and as a means to ensure that the sentences imposed are proportionate to the harmfulness of the offence.

     

  10. What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?

    • Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes, Alex Stevens
    30 Noviembre 2010

    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.

     

  11. parlamento-portugal

    Portuguese priorities

    Nick Warburton
    11 Octubre 2010
    Other news

    In July 2001, the Portuguese government introduced Law 30, setting in train a radical new approach to illicit drug use. In practice, it decriminalised the possession of certain quantities of drugs for personal use, instead referring users to one of the country’s 20 ‘dissuasion commissions’. Allied with decree 183 – which significantly expanded the network of harm reduction programmes – this meant that heroin users could seek help rather than face the wrath of the police.

  12. Review of methodologies of evaluating effects of drug-related legal changes

    01 Abril 2010

    This paper analyses scientific and grey literature that examines the consequences of drug law changes, and describes their approach and methodologies. A multi-part search strategy identified 36 primary studies coming from Europe, North America and Australia, which were then categorised by the type of legal change they examined; changes to laws addressing illegal use and possession, changes in laws regulating legal use and possession, and enforcement strategies of existing laws such as police crackdowns and employee drug testing.

    application-pdfDownload the document (PDF)

  13. Penalisation of drug possession

    • Ewelina Kuzmicz et al.
    01 Diciembre 2009

    Polish law provides punishment for possession of narcotic drugs. It is a controversial issue whether punishing for possession of any amount of drugs is a right thing to do. Regardless of one’s opinion, it is worth being aware of the consequences of the adopted legal solutions. In spite of the high cost, the enforcement of the Act does not result in mitigating drug problems in Poland, such as reduction of drug trafficking or “deterring” their potential users.

     

  14. Mexico: The Law Against Small-Scale Drug Dealing

    • Jorge Hernández Tinajero, Carlos Zamudio Angles
    01 Octubre 2009

    In August 2009, Mexico adopted a new law against small-scale drug dealing, which introduces some significant advances in key subjects, such as the recognising of and distinguishing between user, drug addict and dealer. However it still has significant flaws in continuing to treat demand and supply of drugs as a criminal and market phenomenon that are likely to undermine its successful application.

     

  15. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    • Glenn Greenwald
    01 Abril 2009

    On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm.

     

  16. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    • Glenn Greenwald
    01 Abril 2009

    On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm.

  17. Tráfico de drogas e Constituição

    • Luciana Boiteux, Ela Volkmer de Castilho Wiecko
    01 Marzo 2009

     

    This study commissioned by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice underlines the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs. Although the fact that the use of drugs is no longer a crime is certainly progress, it seems disproportionate to establish maximum prison sentences of 5 years for the sale of very minor quantities of drugs. The study was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, and the University of Brasília UnB that ran from March 2008 and July 2009, supported by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.

     

  18. On the threshold

    • Charlotte Walsh
    01 Diciembre 2008

    This paper offers a critique of the UK Government’s decision to abandon its former plans to introduce thresholds into drugs legislation via section 2 of the Drugs Act 2005. This provision had been enacted with a view to enhancing the significance of the amount of drugs an individual is caught with in prosecutions for the offence of possession with intent to supply.

     

  19. Decriminalization of cannabis

    • Wim van den Brink
    01 Marzo 2008

    This paper discusses the case for decriminalization of cannabis use, based on a careful weighting of the currently available evidence regarding advantages and risks of such a policy change. The issue of decriminalization is a response to the widespread use of cannabis in spite of its current illegal status; that is, as a consequence of the perceived ineffectiveness of the traditional prohibition of cannabis use.

     

  20. Beyond Punitive Prohibition

    • Melissa T. Aoyagi
    01 Marzo 2006

    The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate whether the drug conventions permit states to experiment with alternatives to the punitive prohibitionist policies that have typified the global approach to combating the negative effects of personal drug use. Because harm minimization encompasses most policies providing alternatives to punitive prohibition, the analysis that follows will focus on comparing the two strategies, in an effort to frame the current debate on drug policy.

     

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