Portugal – not the ‘poster girl’ for drug policy after all!

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The most recent independent report on what is happening in Portugal shows that in 1995 eight per cent of Portuguese teenagers had tried drugs.

In 1999, when laws began to be relaxed, it was 12 per cent.

But after decriminalisation in 2001, it rose to 18 per cent in 2003 and 19 per cent in 2011. The picture for cannabis use is similar. In 1995, only 7 per cent of Portuguese teens had tried the drug but by 2011 the figure was 16 per cent.

The report, by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, looked at 100,000 15 and 16-year-olds across Europe. Its most alarming finding covers children under 13 in Portugal.

In 1999, 2 per cent had tried cannabis. By 2003, that had risen to 4 per cent and remained at that level in 2011.

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