Drugs and Society: A Public Health Issue and the New Approaches in Portugal and Uruguay
Ivonaldo Leite

This paper aims to present a general perspective on the relationship between drugs and society, and, at the same time, to develop an analysis of the decriminalization of drugs in Portugal, as well as of the regulated cannabis market in Uruguay. So, methodologically, it is based on both a review of the literature about that subject and an investigation of the primary sources of the Portuguese and Uruguayan drug policy. Among the results found out, it can be highlighting the following sample: 1) the prohibitionist policy on drugs is one of the cases that most reveals ambivalence when it is considered the production of social rules; 2) the so-called drug problem is not and never has been a police problem, except in the sense that the police are themselves the problem - it is, rather, a problem of lack of knowledge and wrong policy approach; 3) the prohibitionist drug policies have failed; 4) Portugal is an example of a well-implemented drug decriminalization policy; 5) the philosophy of Uruguayan drug policy assumes that human rights obligations take precedence over drug control efforts. Conclusively, it is advocated, for example, the implementation of policies that regulate illicit drugs, from production through to distribution.

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