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Country overview: Portugal

  • Situation summary


Key figures
  Year Portugal EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2013 10 487 289
505 665 739  Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2013 10.7 %  11.5 %
25–49 35.4 %  35.0 %
50–64 19.8 % p 19.7 %
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2012 76 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2011 26.5 % p 29.0 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2013 16.5 % 10.8 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2013 37.7 % 23.4 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2012 129.1 : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2012
At risk of poverty rate 5  2012 17.9 % 17.0 % e SILC

p Eurostat provisional value.

e Estimated.

1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of economic activity. It is defined as the value of all goods and services produced less the value of any goods or services used in their creation. The volume index of GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average set to equal 100. If the index of a country is higher than 100, this country's level of GDP per head is higher than the EU average and vice versa.

2  Expenditure on social protection contains: benefits, which consist of transfers, in cash or in kind to households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs.

3 Unemployment rates represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 who were: (a) without work during the reference week; (b) currently available for work; (c) actively seeking work.

4 Situation of penal institutions on 1 September, 2012.

5 Share of persons aged 0+ with an equivalent disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

Drug use among the general population and young people

The first general population survey on drug use was conducted in Portugal in 2001 on a sample of 15 000 individuals representative of the Portuguese population. The second general population survey was conducted in 2007 on a sample of 12 202. In 2012 a new general population survey was conducted, but results are not yet available. Between 2001 and 2007, despite an increase in lifetime prevalence of use of any illicit drug from 7.8 % to 12 % among those aged 15–64, the last month prevalence remained stable (2.5 % in 2001 and 2007). Cannabis was the most frequently ever-used illicit substance in 2001 and 2007 (lifetime prevalence of 7.6 % and 11.7 % respectively). The use of other illicit substances was less frequently reported. In 2001 lifetime prevalence was less than 1 % for cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD, while in 2007 lifetime prevalence for cocaine, heroin and ecstasy slightly increased. Similar proportions of respondents in both surveys indicated current use of cannabis (2.4 %), amphetamines (0.1 %) and ecstasy (0.2 %). Both studies confirmed that males more frequently than females use illicit substances in Portugal.

Surveys among school children are currently carried out in Portugal nearly every two years: the National School Survey (Inquérito Nacional em Meio Escolar, INME) in 2001 and 2006 (a previous version of this survey was done in 1989 and 1995); and the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) study every four years since 1995 (with students aged 15–16). The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey — which is promoted by the World Health Organization — is repeated every four years in Portugal and targets young people in school settings (6th, 8th and 10th grades).

In 2006 results from the national studies of school populations showed a decrease in drug consumption between 2002–06 (HBSC) and 2001–06 (INME). Cannabis maintained its position as the drug with the highest prevalence of use. The latest HBSC study from 2009/10 indicates an increase in the prevalence of cannabis use in the period 2006–10.

The ESPAD survey results for 2011 showed that the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 16 % (13 % in 2007; 15 % in 2003; 8 % in 1999). The lifetime prevalence for inhalants was 6 % (4 % in 2007; 8 % in 2003; 3 % in 1999), and for all other substances lifetime prevalence was reported at 3 %. The results indicated 16 % for last year prevalence of cannabis use (10 % in 2007; 13 % in 2003; 9 % in 1999), and 9 % for last month prevalence (6 % in 2007; 8 % in 2003; 5 % in 1999). Despite the downward trend observed during 2002–06, the most recent ESPAD study corroborates the findings of the HBSC study, showing an increase in consumption of illicit substances since 2006. This trend is observed among both male and female students.

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The Portuguese National Plan Against Drugs and Drug Addiction 2005–12 aims to: (i) increase the number of drug prevention programmes based on scientific evidence; (ii) increase the number of selective prevention programmes directed at vulnerable groups; and (iii) improve the process of selection, monitoring and evaluation of prevention programmes. In the framework of the National Plan, the Operational Plan of Integrated Responses (PORI) is an intervention framework targeted at drug demand reduction and organised at the local/regional level. The principles are: (i) to integrate responses; (ii) to profit from synergies at the local level; (iii) to empower citizens; and (iv) to promote their participation in partnerships that address needs that have been identified in their community. Thus, in each specific territory, an intervention may address problems particular to local needs by bringing together relevant partners, and working in different settings. Within PORI, the most vulnerable territories have been mapped in order to prioritise them for resource and intervention allocation. In continental Portugal, 163 territories were identified for the development of integrated intervention responses at several levels (prevention, treatment, harm and risk reduction, and reintegration). In 2011 some 62 integrated response prevention projects were implemented in the framework of the Operational Plan, covering nearly 56 400 people, mainly through awareness raising, information activities and educational interventions.

Universal drug prevention is part of the Portuguese school curriculum and is implemented mainly in Sciences, Biology and Civic Education studies. Prevention programmes are delivered through training sessions, awareness-raising activities and dissemination of printed information. In the Safe School programme law enforcement agents patrol the areas surrounding schools to prevent and protect the school from criminal activities in the surrounding area, such as drug trafficking. The agents are also involved in awareness and training activities in teaching establishments (targeting students, parents and school staff). The programme  ‘Me and others’ has been implemented since 2006 across various educational settings and focuses on promoting a child’s healthy development. At the end of the 2010/11 school year, 247 institutions were enrolled on the programme, covering about 10 414 young people aged 10–24. The programme is evaluated annually, and the latest evaluation of 2011 suggests an increase in self-efficacy among the participants that may be due to the programme. At regional and local levels, other standardised school based prevention programmes are available. Drug prevention activities aimed at university students, in vocational education settings and in workplaces are usually implemented within the framework of comprehensive health promotion programmes.

Selective prevention is given a high priority from both a political and a practical perspective through the Programme of Focused Intervention (PIF), which was evaluated in 2010. The PIF implemented selective preventive interventions for vulnerable groups, based on scientific evidence. In its lifetime PIF reached a total of 210 117 individuals, most of whom had patterns of use in recreational settings, as well as vulnerable children and youngsters, and vulnerable families. The programme’s implementation and evaluation was concluded with the publication of two documents, ‘Guidelines for preventive intervention consumption of licit and illicit psychoactive substances’ and ‘Prevention of drug addiction in vulnerable groups – catalogue of good practices’. In some geographical areas small but important steps were taken to improve prevention interventions, particularly to develop guidelines on the care of young users of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, and on the interventions in recreational settings. Searching for the Family Treasure is a well-researched selective programme for vulnerable families, and Kosmicare is a new intervention to tackle crisis events related to the use of psychedelic substances at music festivals.

Counselling and information on psychoactive substances are also provided via a helpline, and recently via the Internet. In 2011 new psychoactive substances such as cannabinoids, and opioids, were the most frequent topics of the helpline calls.

All government-financed prevention interventions are monitored.

View ‘Prevention profile’ for additional information.

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High-risk drug use

Portugal has carried out four multiplier-method estimates based on 2005 data, which were then compared to previous estimates based on 2000 data. The size of the population of long-term and/or regular users of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines was estimated to be between 4.3 and 5.0 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (30 833 to 35 576 individuals), using an outreach team multiplier in 2005. A broader definition, not restricting the population to long-term and regular users, calculated using a treatment multiplier, suggested a higher rate of 6.2–7.4 cases per 1 000 aged 15–64. Injecting drug users were estimated at 1.8–2.2 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 using a treatment multiplier, and 1.5–3.0 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 using a mortality multiplier. The comparison with 2000 data indicated a decline in the estimated number of problem drug users and injecting drug users between 2000 and 2005.

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use (IDU) or long duration/regular drug use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines. Ecstasy and cannabis were not included in this category. Details are available here.

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Treatment demand

Treatment demand data in Portugal is collected through the outpatient public network via the Multidisciplinary Information System (SIM), which was launched in 2010. The SIM enables complete treatment demand data from all 78 outpatient public treatment centres across Portugal to be reported. In 2011 a total of 4 388 clients were in treatment, of which 2 265 were in treatment for the first time.

The primary drug of abuse among all treatment clients was opioids, at 70.1 %, followed by cannabis at 13.9 % and cocaine at 10.5 %. Among new treatment clients, 54.4 % reported opioids, mainly heroin, as their main substance, followed by 25.4 % for cannabis and 14 .4 % for cocaine.

In general, a decreasing trend in the proportion of drug users amongst all HIV and AIDS cases has continued to be registered since 1999–2000. Similarly, the incidence of HIV and AIDS among IDUs has declined since 1999–2000 (62 new HIV cases in 2011; 166 in 2010; 1 497 in 2000) (53 new AIDS cases in 2011; 117 in 2010; 680 in 1999). A downward trend can also be observed in the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus among clients of drug treatment facilities.

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Drug-related infectious diseases

In Portugal, global estimates of the prevalence of infectious diseases among drug users are not available. However, some data based on clients of some treatment facilities are available, and these can provide information on rates among some sub-groups of drug users: (i) those demanding treatment for the first time at the public network of outpatient treatment facilities; (ii) those admitted to public detoxification treatment units or certified private detoxification units; or (iii) those in treatment in public or certified private therapeutic communities.

In 2011 some 16.5 % of drug users who ever injected drugs and were treated at outpatient treatment services were found to be HIV positive. For the injecting drug users admitted to the same treatment environment, the rate of acute hepatitis B infections was 4.3 % and for hepatitis C the rate was 79.7 %. When interpreting these results it should be noted that the sample of drug users tested at various services is not always representative of the group.

When interpreting these results, it should be taken into consideration that the sample of tested drug users at various services is not always representative of the group. It must also be mentioned that some of the treatment samples included IDUs and non-IDUs, and consequently the rates among IDUs will probably be higher than those presented.

In general, a decreasing trend in the percentage of drug users in the total number of notifications of HIV and AIDS cases continues to be registered (since 1999–2000). Likewise, the decline in the incidence of HIV and AIDS among IDUs is also registered since 1999–2000 (116 new HIV cases in 2010 and 1 482 in 2000; 88 new AIDS cases in 2010 and 675 in 1999). A downward trend can be observed also in the prevalence of HIV, HCV and HBV among clients of drug treatment settings.

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Drug-induced deaths and mortality among drug users

There are two sources of information about drug-related deaths in Portugal: the General Mortality Registry of the Statistics National Institute, and the Special Registry of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine.

In 2011 the General Mortality Registry of the Statistics National Institute registered 10 cases of drug-related deaths, which is the lowest number of deaths registered since 2006. The number registered in 2009 (27 deaths) was the highest since 2003, but lower than in 2002 (the year when ICD-10 was implemented in Portugal). The increase in drug-related deaths may be a reflection of the increase in the number of deaths overall and of the methodological improvements in the General Mortality Registry.

Provisional data from the Special Registry of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine estimate that there were 19 drug-related death cases (selection D) in 2011 (52 in 2010; 56 in 2009; 94 in 2008). In 2011 the majority of deaths occurred among men, at a mean age of 38 years. All the provisionally reported drug-related death cases were toxicologically confirmed and around 90 % of them involved opiates.

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Treatment responses

Healthcare for drug users is organised in Portugal mainly through the public network services of treatment for illicit substance dependence, under the Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction and the Ministry of Health. In addition to public services, certification and protocols between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other public or private treatment services ensure a wide access to quality-controlled services encompassing several treatment modalities. The public services are provided free of charge and are accessible to all drug users who seek treatment.

Drug treatment in Portugal can be classified into four main categories: (i) outpatient drug treatment; (ii) day-care centres; (iii) detoxification units; and (iv) therapeutic communities. All centres provide both psychosocial and substitution treatment. Day-care centres offering outpatient care are provided by public and non-governmental services. Withdrawal treatment is available in public and private detoxification units. Inpatient psychosocial treatment mostly consists of therapeutic communities and is mainly available in private services. Short-term and long-term residential psychosocial drug treatment is also available. There are 68 specialised treatment facilities (public and certified private therapeutic communities), 9 detoxification units, 78 public outpatient facilities and 8 accredited day-care centres. Although treatment of heroin addiction remains a main focus of the drug treatment system, during the period 2005–10 special programmes for cannabis and cocaine users have also been created.

Continuous efforts are also taken to systematise the best practice experience and promote new treatment approaches. Thus, in 2011, guidelines defining the early treatment of youth at risk and adolescent users and on treatment and rehabilitation in a therapeutic community were published.

Substitution treatment is widely available in Portugal through public services such as specialised treatment centres, health centres, hospitals, pharmacies, NGOs and non-profit organisations. Methadone has been available since 1977, buprenorphine since 1999, and the buprenorphine/naloxone combination has recently been approved for use.

Decree Law 183/2001 Article 44.1 and Decree Law 15/93 Article 15.1–3 stipulate that methadone treatment can be initiated by treatment centres, and that buprenorphine treatment can be initiated by any medical doctor, specialised medical doctors and treatment centres. The provision of buprenorphine in pharmacies started in 2004.

In 2011 some 26 351 clients were registered in opioid substitution programmes (29 325 in 2010), 78 % of whom were in methadone maintenance treatment and the remaining 22 % in high-dosage buprenorphine treatment. Opioid substitution treatment is also available in prison settings.

View ‘Treatment profile’ for additional information.

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Harm reduction responses

The main priorities established by the National Plan Against Drugs and Drug Addictions 2005–12 in the areas of risk and harm reduction are: (i) to set up a global network of integrated and complementary responses in the harm reduction area with public and private partners; and (ii) to target specific groups for risk reduction and harm minimisation programmes. A network of harm reduction programmes (syringe exchange, low-threshold substitution programmes, etc.) and structures, including drop-in centres, refuges, shelters, contact units and mobile centres, is being consolidated throughout the country in critical zones of intensive drug use, with the aim of preventing drug-related risks such as infectious diseases, social exclusion and delinquency.

The National Commission for the Fight Against AIDS (Comissão Nacional de Luta Contra a SIDA), in cooperation with the National Association of Pharmacies (Associação Nacional de Farmácias), implements the national syringe exchange programme Say No to a Second-Hand Syringe, which was set up in October 1993 to prevent HIV amongst IDUs. In 2011 the programme involved 1 267 pharmacies, several mobile units, other public and NGO facilities and prison settings. Approximately 49 million syringes have been exchanged through this programme between its launch in October 1993 and December 2011. In 2011 some 1 651 000 syringes were distributed within the programme. Overall trends in syringe exchange show an increase in syringe numbers until 2001 (3.5 million), followed by stabilisation at a lower level (2.7 million) until 2005, and a decline thereafter. An evaluation of the programme in 2002 concluded that it had been successful in preventing HIV infections among drug injectors. Districts such as Lisbon, Porto, Setúbal and Faro are places with a higher number of exchanged syringes, and have taken part in the programme since it started. In addition to needles, syringes and other injecting paraphernalia, the programmes also provide information services, psychosocial support and referrals, while smoking pipes have been distributed in a pilot project.

Treatments for HIV and AIDS, HBV and HCV are included in the National Health Service of Portugal and are available for free.

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Drug markets and drug-law offences

Portugal remains an important transit point of international drug trafficking for many drugs, but particularly for cocaine. The majority of illicit substances enter Portugal via sea routes, while land (from Spain) and air routes are used to a lesser extent. In 2012 most cocaine was trafficked from Argentina and Brazil. Heroin and ecstasy seized in Portugal come from the Netherlands. Cannabis products come from Morocco. A large proportion of the drugs seized in Portugal is destined for the European market; for example, cocaine is mainly destined for Spain.

As in the previous 10 years, the highest number of seizures involved cannabis resin (3 298 in 2012; 3 093 in 2011), followed by cocaine and heroin (1 238 and 971 respectively). The number of herbal cannabis (liamba) and ecstasy seizures continued to be lower, but an increase in the number of seizures was reported in 2012, compared to 2011. The numbers of heroin and cocaine seizures declined in 2012 and were the lowest registered since 2002 and 2005 respectively.

In 2012 there was an increase in the quantity of cannabis resin, ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis plants seized compared to 2011 (in 2012: 18 304 kg cannabis resin; 7.3 kg of ecstasy powder and 867 tablets; 4 020 kg of cocaine and 7 788 cannabis plants), while the quantity of heroin (66 kg) and herbal cannabis (49 kg) seized had decreased in comparison to 2011.

In 2012 a total of 14 779 people were reported to be involved in drug-law offences. The majority of drug-law offenders were linked to cannabis-related offences (69.2 %), followed by cocaine-related offences (9.2 %) and heroin-related offences (7.5 %).

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National drug laws

The main drug law in Portugal is Decree Law 15/93 of 22 January, which defines the legal regime applicable to the trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances.

Drug trafficking may incur a sentence of one to five or four to 12 years’ imprisonment, depending on specific criteria, one of them being the nature of the substance supplied. The penalty is reduced for users who sell drugs to finance their own consumption. The Portuguese legal framework on drugs changed in November 2000 with the adoption of Law 30/2000, in place since July 2001, which decriminalised illicit drug use and related acts, but maintained drug use as an illegal behaviour, with respect to all drugs included in the relevant United Nations conventions. However, a person caught in possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use (established by law, this shall not exceed the quantity required for average individual consumption over a period of 10 days), where there is no suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking, will be evaluated by a local Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, composed of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. Sanctions can be applied, but the main objective is to explore the need for treatment and to promote healthy recovery.

A new Decree Law 54/2013 was adopted in April 2013. It prohibits the production, export, advertisement, distribution, sale or simple dispensing of NPS listed in the list accompanying the Decree Law and sets up a control mechanism for NPS. Administrative sanctions alone are anticipated for offences against this law, while a person caught using NPS, without a suspicion of another offence, is referred to a local Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction.

View the European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) for additional information.

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National drug strategy

Portuguese drug policy is detailed in three strategic documents. Launched in 1999 and envisaged as a long-term policy document, the National Strategy for the Fight Against Drugs defines the general objectives in the drugs field. The strategy is built around eight principles: (i) international cooperation; (ii) prevention; (iii) the humanistic principle; (iv) pragmatism; (v) security; (vi) coordination and rationalisation of resources; (vii) subsidiarity; and (viii) participation. Six general objectives are set out in the strategy:

  1. To contribute to an appropriate and efficient international and European strategy for the world drug problem, with regards to demand and supply reduction and which includes the fight against illicit trafficking and money laundering.
  2. To provide Portuguese society with better information about the phenomenon of drugs and drug addiction, and the dangers of particular drugs, from a preventive perspective.
  3. To reduce the use of drugs, especially among younger members of the population.
  4. To guarantee the necessary resources for treatment and social reintegration of drug addicts.
  5. To protect public health and the security of people and property.
  6. To repress the illicit traffic of drugs and money laundering.

These objectives are elaborated through a set of 13 strategic options.

Portugal’s current National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependences 2013–20 builds on the principles of the 1999 strategy and the external evaluation of the National Plan Against Drugs and Drug Addiction 2005–12. It takes a broad and integrated view of drug and addiction problems and addresses a range of areas, including illicit drug use, new psychoactive substances, alcohol, prescription medications, doping, and gambling. The National Plan is guided by five overarching objectives:

  1. Prevent, deter, reduce and minimise the problems associated with the consumption of psychoactive substances, addictive behaviors and dependencies.
  2. Reduce the availability of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances.
  3. Ensure the availability, sale and consumption of legal psychoactive substances is safe and does not induce harmful use.
  4. Ensure legal gambling is safe and does not induce addictive behaviour.
  5. Ensure the quality of services provided to citizens and the sustainability of policies and interventions.

The National Plan is built around the two pillars of drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction. It consists of two structural measures (the Operational Plan of Integrated Responses (PORI); and the referral network); and four transversal themes (information and research; training and communication; international relations and cooperation; and quality). Under the demand reduction pillar, the strategy is conceptualised around the lifecycle of the individual based on eleven age brackets. Strategic action under the supply reduction pillar is centred on reducing illicit drug markets and regulating licit gambling. The National Plan defines a set of indicators and targets to be achieved during the strategy’s timeframe.

The National Plan is being implemented through two action plans covering the periods 2013–16 and 2017–20.

View ‘National drug strategies’ for additional information.

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Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

An integrated approach is taken towards the coordination of policy on licit and illicit drugs in Portugal. After the adoption of a National Plan for the Reduction of Alcohol-Related Problems, the Interministerial Council for Drugs, Drug Addiction and Alcohol Related Problems approved extending the existing scope of the collective coordination structures in the drugs field. This resulted in the creation of the National Coordination Structure for Drugs, Drug Addiction and Alcohol-related Problems, as expressed in Decree-Law 40/2010 of 28 April 2010. Accordingly, the monitoring of action plans on licit and illicit drugs, their evaluation and policy development in general now takes place in an integrated manner.

Several structures comprise the National Coordination Structure for Drugs, Drug Addiction and Alcohol-Related Problems. At an interministerial level, the overall responsibility for the endorsement, coordination and evaluation of drug policy rests with the Interministerial Council for Drugs, Drug Addiction and Alcohol Related Problems. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprised of the Ministers for Justice, Health, Education, Science and Higher Education, Labour, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Finance, Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Social Security. The National Drug Coordinator is also a member of the Council.

The Interministerial Council is supported in its work by the Interministerial Technical Commission, which is chaired by the National Coordinator and composed of representatives designated by the different ministers. Its main function is to design, monitor and evaluate the National Plan and support action plans on illicit drugs, as well as the National Plan for alcohol.

Following a government decision in 2011 based on the Plano de Redução e Melhoria da Administração Central, the Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT) was disestablished. A new structure, the Directorate General for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD), was established. Attached to the Ministry of Health, SICAD’s mission is to promote a reduction in the use of psychoactive substances, the prevention of addictive behaviours and a reduction in dependencies. Its specific tasks include supporting government to deliver the National Strategy and planning and evaluating programmes of interventions in the demand reduction area. SICAD functions as the EMCDDA’s national focal point and collects data on drug issues. It also provides technical and administrative support to the Commissions for Dissuasion. The Director General of SICAD is also the National Coordinator for Drugs, Drug Addiction and Alcohol-Related Problems.

The National Council for the Fight Against Drugs and Drug Addiction is an advisory body, chaired by the Prime Minister, who can delegate to the Minister of Health. It has a broad membership, which includes representatives from 23 institutions, public or private: Governments of the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and Azores, the Mayors’ Association, the Judges’ Council, the general public prosecutor, university deans, churches and religious communities, care services and non-governmental organisations, the Youth Council, students, parenting associations, the Family Federation, the Journalists Union, and, since 2010, representatives from the alcohol industry and commerce. It advises the Government on the National Strategy and the Action Plan and follows the implementation reports.

The Criminal Police (Polícia Judiciária) at the Ministry of Justice coordinate interventions and information in the area of supply reduction.

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Public expenditure

The Portuguese Action Plan for 2006–08 had a comprehensive associated budget. This budget forecasted labelled drug-related expenditure to represent 0.05 % of gross domestic product (GDP) (1,2), with a 3 % annual nominal growth rate. The implementation of that budget was never fully assessed. A first attempt to estimate the total drug-related expenditure was made for the year 2005, and in 2013 another attempt was made within the evaluation of the Action Plan 2009–12. Currently, there are no specific budget lines financing drug policy and public entities are provided with funds within their global budget on an annual basis.

The evaluation of the Action Plan 2009–12 focused on labelled drug-related expenditure. Estimates were not fully accurate because data for some types of expenditure was missing (e.g. prisons, social security, etc.), and in other areas spending on alcohol initiatives had also been included. Taking these limitations into account, labelled drug-related public expenditure was estimated to represent between 0.06 % and 0.05 % of GDP over the period 2009–11.

The available information does not allow reporting on the current total size of and trends in drug-related public expenditure in Portugal.

(1) Some of the funds allocated by governments for 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 by modelling approaches. The total budget is the sum of labelled and unlabelled drug-related expenditures.

(2) Source: EMCDDA (2008), Selected issue 2008: Towards a better understanding of drug-related public expenditure in Europe, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon.

View ‘Public expenditure profile’  for additional information.

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Drug-related research

The National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependences 2013–20 includes the topics of monitoring, research and evaluation of results at national and international level, to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of addictive behaviours and dependencies, and to assess the impact of the measures adopted at national, regional and local levels. This is done on the basis of a global and integrated information system (the National Information System on Psychoactive Substances, Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies).

The Portuguese National Focal Point, SICAD, uses its website and reports, and national scientific journals, as the main dissemination channels for drug-related research findings. Recent drug-related studies mentioned in the 2013 Portuguese National report mainly focused on aspects related to the prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use, but responses to the drug situation, the consequences of drug use, and supply and markets were also mentioned.

View ‘Drug-related research’ for additional information.

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About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Thursday, 26 June 2014