Portugal’s Public Health Approach To Drugs Serves As Global Model
New York Times: How to Win a War on Drugs
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist
“…Portugal … has become a model for a drug policy that is not only compassionate but also effective. … The public health approach arises from an increasingly common view worldwide that addiction is a chronic disease … and thus requires medical care rather than punishment. … [A]lthough the Portuguese model is often described simply as decriminalization, perhaps the more important part is a public health initiative to treat addiction and discourage narcotics use. … On balance, the evidence is that drug use stabilized or declined since Portugal changed approaches … Decriminalization also made it easier to fight infectious diseases and treat overdoses. … The lesson that Portugal offers the world is that while we can’t eradicate heroin, it’s possible to save the lives of drug users — if we’re willing to treat them not as criminals but as sick, suffering human beings who need helping hands, not handcuffs” (9/22).
The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.