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

31 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2017

See all articles by Sónia Félix

Sónia Félix

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Pedro Portugal

Bank of Portugal - Research Department; New University of Lisbon; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ana Sofia Tavares

New University of Lisbon

Abstract

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 Classification: C21, D04, K42

Suggested Citation

Félix, Sónia and Portugal, Pedro and Tavares, Ana Sofia, Going after the Addiction, Not the Addicted: The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10895, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3010673

Sónia Félix (Contact Author)

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

Pedro Portugal

Bank of Portugal - Research Department ( email )

Av. Almirante Reis 71, 6th
Lisbon 1150-012
Portugal
+351 21 313 0000 (Phone)
+351 21 814 3841 (Fax)

New University of Lisbon

Lisbon, 1099-085
Portugal

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ana Sofia Tavares

New University of Lisbon ( email )

Lisbon, 1099-085
Portugal

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