This is how the system works. Portugal decriminalized the use and possession of all drugs in a way that shifts from criminal punishment to treatment. Medications are not available for free and cannot be sold legally. If you are caught with a possession amount of a drug, there are still civil consequences.
Instead, possession of drugs for personal use is treated as an administrative offense, meaning that it is no longer punishable by imprisonment and does not give rise to a criminal record or the associated stigma. The prevalence of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs has been estimated to be the highest in Western Europe and is the result of multiple epidemics from the late 20th century linked in part to unsafe drug injection practices until the 1990s. Both the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime consider use in the past 12 months (recent drug use) or within the last month (current drug use) to be better indicators of trends among the general population. Murders increased 41 percent in the five years after the drug reform law (after which they fell), and drug trafficking grew.
Influenced by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (196, known for establishing the coordinated international fight against drug phenomena), Portuguese Decree-Law No. Portugal joined the War on Drugs in the 1970s, although drug use was not, at that time, a relevant social problem in the country, nor did the legislator distinguish, until then, between drug use and drug trafficking. At the time, the Act emphasized the immorality of drugs and the lack of criminal responsibility of the user, based on an exclusively public safety perspective to the detriment of health, which was not in line with that convention. However, it is safe to say that the claims of drug legalization advocates regarding the impact of Portugal's drug policy exceed the existing scientific basis.
This could justify the fact that the decriminalization law is based on a dichotomous classification of drug users - dependent and non-dependent - which, already formulated in Decree-Law No. The PDPM is in line with the belief that the War on Drugs has failed, thus committing itself to ensuring greater respect for the rights of people who use drugs; and it is also in line with broader European and global trends towards policies that reduce penalties for drug use. The reinstatement of the crime of drug use - which recovers drug use in the criminal sphere - had blurred the innovative characteristics of the PDPM, standing out not only as an example of the ambivalence that marks the history of Portuguese drug policy, but perhaps as its most serious setback, placing consumers in drugs at risk of criminal penalties. An example of this is the so-called Portuguese Drug Policy Model (PDPM), whose implementation, since 2001, decriminalized the public and private use, acquisition and possession of all illegal drugs (being quite innovative in this sense), provided that they do not exceed the amount required for an average After the transformation Portuguese sociocultural and diversification of drug use patterns, later observed in Portugal, but somehow identical to the main European trends, drug use is escaping its label as something that develops on the margins of society.
Drug use became an administratively punishable misdemeanor, but not a crime, and was placed under the jurisdiction of the Commissions for the Deterrence of Drug Addiction, created by Decree-Law No. .