Quarter of university students say cannabis use is inoffensive (En)
The overwhelming majority (82.4 percent) agreed with the idea that having four or five drinks almost every day was extremely damaging to a person’s health, though one in six said having three beers would have no adverse effects on their driving.
More than 36 percent also replied they had their first alcoholic drink before their 15th birthday.
The smoking of cigarettes drew the widest consensus among students, with 15.6 percent saying it was a damaging habit while 83 percent said it was very damaging.
Overall, beer, spirits and wine are the favoured drinks among students, with 37 percent admitting to binge drinking in the past 12 months.
Portugal’s leniency towards drug use has long been forwarded as an example for other nations to follow, especially in Britain where Portugal is repeatedly referred to in this ongoing debate.
The UK Drug Policy Commission last year told Westminster it should reform its drug legislation in accordance with the “success story” evident in Portugal which decriminalised drug use at the turn of the millennium.
The independent body which reviews and analyses drug use in Britain has proposed a shift in UK drug laws in a bid to ease the adverse effects they have on British society.
In a 173-page document, which took six years to compile, the UKDPC proposed what many might perceive as a radical rethink of how responses to drug problems are structured in Britain, but which it says has worked to great effect in Portugal.
Experts are quoted in the report as saying criminal sanctions imposed on the 42,000 people sentenced each year for possession of all drugs – and the 160,000 given cannabis warnings – should be replaced with simple civil penalties such as a fine, attendance at a drug awareness session or a referral to a drug treatment programme, similar to what currently happens in Portugal.
The UKDPC explains the experience of Portugal shows that in the event of decriminalisation, drug use would not increase and resources can be directed to treating addiction and tackling organised crime.
Following the changes in drug classification and respective punishment in 2001 in Portugal, no negative effects have been felt in Portugal, the Institute for Drugs and Addiction (IDT) said in 2009.
A report by the European Observatory for Drugs and Addiction (OEDT) has also confirmed that there had not been a rise in consumption in Portugal following the decriminalisation, nor had the country become sought after as a destination for drug users.
The IDT said “figures show that, from the time of decriminalisation until now, there has been a positive evolution regarding the phenomenon of drug abuse and addiction in Portugal.”
“It was also confirmed that Portugal has not become a destination for drug-tourism nor has there been a boom in the number of users following the decriminalisation.”