TODAYonline.com, August 25, 2006
Stacks of seized
heroin. Portugal's government approved the creation of
neighbourhood drug-injection sites where addicts can
shoot up under supervision.
approved the creation of neighbourhood drug-injection
sites where addicts can shoot up under supervision.
New measures to be put in place
by 2008 also call for the installation of needle
exchange machines in prisons.
They are part of a wider plan
approved by the cabinet aiming to "reduce the
consumption of drugs and diminish their harmful social
and health effects", the government said in a
The plan also calls for the
greater use of methadone, a liquid narcotic that eases
heroin cravings without getting patients high, to
Over 100 supervised
drug-injection sites have been set up in more than 50
cities around the world, including in Spain, Germany,
Switzerland and The Netherlands.
Advocates of drug-injection
sites say they help reduce crime, make it easier for
addicts to get help and save lives by preventing
heroin or cocaine users from sharing needles, which
has been shown to increase HIV rates.
In 2004, the last year for which
statistics are available, 152 people died in Portugal
as a result of drug use, mostly as a result of
overdoses, according to the health ministry.
decriminalised the use -- but not sale -- of all drugs
from cannabis to cocaine in 2000. — AFP