UNGASS Special Segment Day 1 – Statement by Portugal

Portugal fully associates itself with the EU statement from earlier.

As we get closer to the 2016 UNGASS, we should use all available scientific evidence to guide discussions and take into account whenever formulating future policies.

Portugal has always urged open and inclusive debate. We are keen to listen and speak to others on this issue. We follow with interest new models to the drug problem, and are curious to have access to published results on different approaches. However, we note it takes time to properly assess different strategies.

The idea of Portuguese drug policy is to divert resources to help drug addicts by sending them to treatment. We see the addict as a sick person, who nevertheless is still responsible for a behaviour that is considered an offence in Portugal.

We adopted measures that allowed us to improve the understanding of addiction as a chronic health disorder. According to the results of our most recent survey, there has been a decrease in life time prevalence of use since we decriminalised drugs in 2001.

What’s more, the number of HIV cases among drug users has decreased notably since 2001.

Open dialogue sustained with our partners should provide a basis for working toward the UNGASS next year. The drug conventions and the UN declaration on human rights provide the cornerstones in confronting the world drug problem.

Policies should be founded on scientific evidence and human rights. We call on states that retain the death penalty to issue an immediate moratorium with a view to abolition.

Civil society has played an active role in our own policy and we’re sure it will provide an invaluable contribution to the UNGASS.

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