Understanding of the costs of drug-related actions is an important aspect of drug policy. Some of the funds allocated by governments to expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the bulk of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated using modelling approaches.
One of the aspects of the evaluation of the Portuguese Action Plan 2009-12 focused on labelled drug-related expenditure. Some types of expenditure were missing from the estimates (e.g. spending on prisons, social security, etc.) and, for some areas, spending on alcohol initiatives was included. Taking these limitations into account, drugrelated public expenditure was estimated to represent between 0.06 % and 0.05 % of gross domestic product (GDP) over the period 2009-11 (0.06 % of GDP in 2009 and 2010, and 0.05 % in 2011).
The previous action plan for 2006-08 had a comprehensive associated budget. This budget forecast that labelled drugrelated expenditure would represent 0.05 % of GDP with a 3 % annual nominal growth rate. The implementation of that budget was never fully assessed. Currently, there are no specific budgets financing drug policy, and public entities are provided with funds within their global budget on an annual basis, notwithstanding the creation of a subcommission on public expenditures within the Technical Commission for Drugs, Drug Addictions and the Harmful Use of Alcohol.
Public expenditure related to illicit drugs in Portugal
NBNote: based on estimates of Portugal’s labelled and unlabelled public expenditure in 2011.