Going after the Addiction, Not the Addicted: The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

May 17, 2018
By: Félix, Sónia (Banco de Portugal) ; Portugal, Pedro (Banco de Portugal) ; Tavares, Ana (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
This paper investigates the impact of drug decriminalization in Portugal using the Synthetic Control Method. The applied econometric methodology compares Portuguese drug-related variables with the ones extracted from a convex combination of similar European countries. The results suggest that a policy change implemented in Portugal contributed to a decrease in the number of heroine and cocaine seizures, a decrease in the number of offenses and drug-related deaths, and a decrease in the number of clients entering treatment. Moreover, the policy change contributed to a reduction in the incidence of drug addicts among HIV individuals.
Keywords: drug decriminalization policy, illicit drugs, synthetic control method
JEL: C21 D04 K42
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10895&r=ltv