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One of the architects of Portugal's health-led drugs strategy heads an impressive range of speakers discussing better ways to respond to drug harms than criminalisation.


In 2001 Portugal implemented a new national strategy on drug harms. The approach was bold: decriminalising the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use and doubling expenditure on health-led responses to drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction.  

We are delighted to have João Castel-Branco Goulão, head of the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies in Portugal and one of the architects of the 2001 Drug Strategy, present the learning from Portugal’s health-led approach to reducing drug harms.

Attendees will also hear reflections on the implications of this approach for the UK context, with presentations from policy makers and practitioners who have signalled interest in rethinking the UK’s current reliance on criminalisation in response to drug harms.  

About this event

This is the final event in the European Observatory on Alternatives to Custody project, a European Union funded project for which the Centre is the UK partner. We are grateful to the Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London for co-sponsoring this event.


  • João Castel-Branco Goulão, head of the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies, Portugal
  • Mike Barton, Chief Constable for Durham Constabulary
  • Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release
  • Kenny MacAskill MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh East until May 2016. Between 2007 and 2014 Kenny was the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
  • Baroness Meacher, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform

Venue, time and date

May 16th, 2016 2:00 PM to  4:00 PM
Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre
Kings College London
London, London WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
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Phone: 020 7840 6110
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