Portugal is the final destination for various types of illicit drugs to supply the home market. It is also a transit country for important quantities of cannabis resin and cocaine from Morocco and Latin America, respectively, destined for other European countries. This results from the country’s geographical position, but is also linked to the existence of special relations with some Latin American countries, such as Brazil, where a large amount of cocaine originates. The majority of illicit drugs enter Portugal via sea routes, while land (from Spain) and air routes are used to a lesser extent. An increase in the use of recreational and fishing vessels has recently been noted. MDMA, predominantly from the Netherlands, is transported by air or overland in light vehicles. Heroin seized in Portugal comes mainly from the Netherlands and Spain.
In 2015, the highest number of seizures involved cannabis resin, followed by cocaine and heroin. The number of cocaine seizures, which had been decreasing since 2010, stabilised in 2015. After reductions in the number of heroin seizures since 2010, the number increased in 2015, although it remains just over half of the number in 2010. MDMA and amphetamines continue to be seized in Portugal less frequently than other illicit drugs; however, the number of seizures for these drugs increased in both 2014 and 2015.
Retail price and purity data of the main illicit substances seized are shown below.
Drug seizures in Portugal: trends in number of seizures (left) and quantities seized (right)
NB Year of data 2015.
Price and potency/purity ranges of illicit drugs reported in Portugal
NBPrice and potency/purity ranges: EU and national mean values: minimum and maximum. Year of data 2015.