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Drug Policy Alliance: US wants to learn about drugs from Portugal

A delegation of 72 people organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an NGO from the United States of America, is in Lisbon this week to see on the ground how the Portuguese example of drug decriminalization policy works. The Portuguese case is seen as a reference worldwide and cited by the DPA as “a […]

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A delegation of 72 people organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an NGO from the United States of America, is in Lisbon this week to see on the ground how the Portuguese example of drug decriminalization policy works.

The Portuguese case is seen as a reference worldwide and cited by the DPA as “an example to be investigated further”, due to the dramatic reduction in the number of overdose deaths, HIV infections or arrests for drug possession.

DPA wants to know what Portugal learned in practice with the implementation of decriminalization in 2001 and understand, for example, how Portugal evolved from the highest overdose death rate to the second lowest in Europe. To this end, the DPA will hear from various stakeholders in the context of the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal, including João Goulão, from Intervention Service in Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD), visit the largest rehabilitation center in Lisbon, travel to the Mobile Units of Methadona, accompany the homeless or speak with sex workers.

Asha Bandele, one of the main responsible for the DPA, leads the delegation of 72 people on this visit to Portugal

“Portugal measures its success when it saves or improves people's quality of life and not just when it achieves abstinence or punishment. If we can understand how to prevent overdoses and new HIV infections through intravenous drug use, if we can begin to dismantle some of the architecture that leads to people's incarceration, we can begin to fully imagine a nation whose public health and safety protocols are centered on human rights and justice”, said Asha Bandele, one of the main representatives of the organization, who is already in Lisbon.

DPA will end its delegation to Portugal with a conference at the Tivoli Liberdade Hotel, on Wednesday, March 21st, to which it invited the Cannativa — Cannabis Studies Association, to share their experience in the legalization of cannabis in Portugal.

US law enforcement makes more than one and a half million drug-related arrests a year, 80 percent of which are for drug possession alone. The DPA delegation includes many types of people, from professionals to people who have “personally suffered the disastrous impact of the war on drugs”, whether with a prison sentence or the loss of someone to an overdose. The group of 72 people comes from states as diverse as Hawaii or Mississippi, including Texas, Colorado or New York and includes representatives from more than 35 organizations and various media that have been dedicated to covering the war on drugs and Massive prison in the USA.
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Featured photo: DR

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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