Kratom | Portugal Flag: Portugal

Kratom was included in the list of new psychoactive substances of the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Legislation, in the class “plants and their active constituents”, Ordinance 154/2013. As use and possession are not criminalized, the penalties may affect especially sellers, which could have their business closed within the country.

National Drug Strategy and Laws

Since November 2001, the acquisition, possession and consumption of drugs is no longer considered a crime in Portugal. Consumption has been decriminalised, but not free of punishment. The consumption of illicit psychoactive substances continues to be an act punishable by law, but it is no longer a crime (and as such treated in the courts) and is now a social misdemeanor. 

The National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies 2013-20 builds on the 1999 strategy and takes a broad and integrated view of drug and addiction problems, including illicit substance use, new psychoactive substances, alcohol, prescription medications, anabolic steroids and gambling. It is guided by five overarching objectives and is built around the two pillars of drug demand and drug supply reduction. 

The main drug law in Portugal is Decree Law 15/93 of 22 January 1993, which defines the legal regime applicable to the trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances. Law 30/2000, adopted in November 2000 but in place since July 2001, decriminalised consumption, acquisition and possession of drugs for personal consumption.

A regulation sets out maximum amounts of drugs in grams, these amounts being estimates of the average required for 10 days’ consumption. A person caught using or possessing less than the maximum amount of a drug for personal use, where there is no suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking, will be evaluated by the local Commission for Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, composed of three members, two being medical doctors, psychologists, sociologists or social workers and the third being a legal expert. Punitive sanctions can be applied, but the main objectives are to explore the need for treatment and to promote healthy recovery.

Drug trafficking may incur a sentence of 1-5 or 4-12 years’ imprisonment, depending on specific criteria, one of which is the nature of the substance supplied. The penalty is reduced for users who sell drugs to finance their own consumption.

Decree Law 54/2013 prohibits the production, export, advertisement, distribution, sale or simple dispensing of new psychoactive substances (NPS) named in the list accompanying the Decree Law and sets up a control mechanism for NPS, which includes kratom.

National Treatment Policy

Worldwidely considered a succesful example of humanized treatment for drug addiction, the National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies 2013-20 states that treatment interventions should be based on a comprehensive diagnosis of each citizen’s full medical and social needs, be accessible and adaptable, be based on scientific evidence in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and quality, and be underpinned by guidelines.

Healthcare for drug users is provided by the Referral Network for Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies. The network encompasses public specialised services providing treatment for illicit substance dependence, under the authority of the regional health administrations of the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organisations and other public or private treatment service providers interested and competent in the provision of care. The public services are provided free of charge and are accessible to all people who use drugs and who seek treatment.

In Portugal, OST is widely available. Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) can be initiated in treatment centres, and buprenorphine treatment can be initiated by any medical doctor, specialised medical doctors and treatment centres. MMT is free of charge to the client, while buprenorphine-based medications are available in pharmacies, with the National Health Service covering 40 % of the market price.

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