An evening with Manuel Cardoso, the man who helped reform Portugal’s drug policy.

Members of Families and Friends (Bill and Marion)  were delighted to meet Manuel Cardoso, at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Sydney on Tuesday 5 June and to hear his important message about treating people who use drugs as people not criminals. It was exciting to watch so many people enter the doors of the historic St Stephen’s Uniting Church on a wet and cold Sydney evening to hear about Portutal’s drug policy of decriminalisation. Manuel Cardoso told us about a policy which treats drug users as people and offers help and treatment rather than punishment. He said that decriminalisation should be understood as one measure in the comprehensive drug policy. Dissuasion interventions are directed at the characteristics and individual needs of the drug user. The Portuguese are very pragmatic. Manuel said that the Portuguese realise that drug use is not going away and so reducing the associated problems is all important. There needs to be a co-ordinated approach between all services with responsibilities in drug treatment.

Guest speakers included Dr Manuel Cardoso, Emeritus Professor Geoff Gallop AC, Dr Marianne Jauncey, and Will Tregoning. FFDLR’s Marion McConnell also spoke briefly at the end of the event.  To watch the full presentation, click the link below.