Portugal is the latest European country to pick up on a growing trend of favoring therapy over jail for possession and use of small amounts of illegal drugs. Critics of the new law worry that Portugal will become a hot spot for foreign drug users, but supporters believe the law will shift the focus of the government’s anti-drug efforts from users to traffickers and will give addicts a better chance to get clean.
The New York Times:
Jail sentences have been replaced with mandatory counseling or treatment and possibly community service or a fine of up to 30,000 escudos, about $130. The panels consist of a psychologist, a social worker and a legal adviser, who decide what action to take.
The new approach is drawing fierce criticism, especially from conservative politicians who argue that a wave of foreign ‘‘drug tourists’’ will head for Portugal. ‘‘We are offering sun, beaches and any drug you like,’’ said Paulo Portas, leader of the conservative Popular Party.