The man who helped decriminalize hard drugs in Portugal has some advice for Canada and B.C.

published on June 11, 2022 by Jeremy Nuttall in Toronto Star

VANCOUVER—Portugal was in the throes of a drug crisis more than two decades ago when Dr. João Goulão was tasked with helping to do something about it.

One of the central measures taken was to decriminalize certain amounts of hard drugs. At the time, the country had an estimated 100,000 heroin users, and HIV numbers were raging; today, Portugal has managed to cut the number of users down to 25,000.

Now, decriminalization is coming to Canada, but Goulão cautions that it takes more than that to make an impact.

Last week, the federal government granted an exemption asked for by British Columbia’s government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, in the province starting next Jan. 31…

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