The Man Who Helped Portugal Fix Their Drug Problem By Decriminalizing Illegal Substances | Inspired Citizen And Dr. João Goulão

Dr. João Goulão came from the south of Portugal to its capital city, Lisbon, in the early 2000s to help the government tackle the issue of drug addiction. With over 1% of the country hooked on heroin, drugs crept into every home and life of people living in the country – no matter rich or poor. A trained physician practicing family medicine, Dr. Goulão worked with a team who put together a plan to decriminalize drugs, taking the stigma out of possession. By building a network of care for addicts and encouraging those with drug problems to look at the root of the problem, his efforts have contributed to the reduction in addiction and crime rates across the country. We sat down with him at the beautiful Palácio Belmonte in Lisbon to discuss the decriminalization’s effects on the country 15 years later, and how other countries might look to Portugal for inspiration for their own issues with abused substances. This story is an example of a country showing true love and compassion for its citizens.