IN THE NEWS- NDP and Liberal MPs say Canada can learn lessons from Portugal's "Integrated, Multifaceted, and patient-centred" drug model

IN THE NEWS- Returning from their trip to Portugal to get a first-hand look at what Canada can learn from that country’s successes and recent challenges in addressing its drug overdose crisis, New Democrat MP Gord Johns and Liberal MP Brendan Hanley say that while the toxic drug crisis here at home will need a “made-in-Canada” model, there are plenty of lessons to learn from the Portuguese approach.

Speaking with The Hill Times on July 19, just two days after returning to Canada, Johns (Courtenay–Alberni, B.C.), his party’s mental health and harm reduction critic, said the most significant difference in Portugal’s model is the country’s “integrated, multifaceted, and patient-centred” approach compared to the “piecemeal half-measures” Canada is currently taking. 

“They didn’t just take one approach; they scaled up everywhere,” Johns explained, noting that alongside its move to decriminalize the possession of all drugs in 2001, Portugal also invested heavily and rapidly scaled-up nationwide programs to provide addictions treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation, recovery, and public education campaigns.

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