Drug Decriminalization: The Success of the Portugal Model

Feature by EHN Guest Writer

Written by Adam Fisher, a former Director at Renascent and EHN Canada, writer, researcher, and photographer. He has been in recovery since June, 2004.

Throughout the 1990’s Portugal was in the depths of a national epidemic, averaging 360 drug overdose deaths per year, in a country of only 10 million people. Today, it boasts one of Europe’s lowest rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and the number of overdose deaths in 2016 was just 26.[1] In Canada, with a population of 37 million, we had 4460 overdose deaths in 2018. If Canada had the same overdose rate that Portugal had in 2016, our 2018 overdose deaths would have numbered only 96, and over 4000 lives would have been saved.[2]

It was the spring of 1974. The people of Portugal rose up in support of a coup that overthrew the authoritarian dictatorship that had ruled the southern European country for nearly half a century. Troops were withdrawn from its African territories, prompting a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens living in those regions. Suddenly over a million refugees—a group nicknamed “the retornados”—flooded into the small European nation where even Coca-Cola had been banned under the now-deposed dictatorship.[3] They embraced freedom. They embraced democracy. They embraced heroin.

Over the next decade, heroin addiction ravaged the country, with an estimated 100,000 people—almost 1% of the country’s population—hooked on the powerful opiate.[4]

The Casal Ventoso neighborhood, in the capital city of Lisbon, was the epicenter of the new drug culture and earned the nickname “Europe’s drug supermarket.”[5] Addicts shot up on street corners, dirty needles littered the sidewalks, and hepatitis and HIV infection rates were through the roof.

Taking a page from the “War on Drugs” being waged in the United States and elsewhere, the Portuguese government reacted as most governments do. It imposed strict anti-drug legislation, made mass arrests, and imprisoned tens of thousands of citizens struggling with substance use disorders. But the problem didn’t go away. In fact, the problem continued to grow.

Exasperated, the government decided it had to try something drastically different. Instead of doubling down on their strategy of mass incarceration, they formed a special task force to find a more effective solution. But instead of enlisting law enforcement officials, they decided instead to recruit doctors, psychiatrists, and specialists in addiction medicine who viewed the epidemic as a public health issue—not a criminal justice problem.[6]

They visited other countries with non-traditional drug policies, met with psychiatrists, social workers, and lawyers, and eventually came up with a plan. And that plan—soon passed as law—involved shifting the way drug users were labeled, from “criminals” who needed punishment to “patients” who needed treatment.

Encouraged by what they had learned and observed, and willing to try anything to curb the scourge of addiction that was decimating their country, the task force recommended that the entire nation proceed to take the revolutionary step of decriminalizing all illicit drugs, from marijuana to heroin. They were the first country in the world to do so.[7]

“What was unique was that they didn’t legalize any drug, but they decriminalized every drug,” explains Cara Vaccarino, EHN’s Chief Operating Officer, “that was a new approach and it was a big gamble because it wasn’t at all certain whether or not it would work.”

At a time when many governments are legalizing marijuana outright, why is the Portugal Model seen as revolutionary if someone caught using or possessing drugs is still subject to arrest? Well, it’s what happens after the arrest that’s unique. As opposed to being held, arraigned, and eventually having to appear before a judge, offenders are given three days to present themselves before one of the Health Ministry’s special panels—Commissions for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction (CDT)—which are made up of psychologists, social workers, doctors, and judges.[8]

These panels consider each case individually, taking into account a range of contributing factors. An assessment is done to first evaluate the offender’s mental and physical health.[9] Then additional examination is done regarding any social issues like schooling, employment, or housing. And if there’s a problem in one of those areas, then the panel refers out to appropriate support agencies to better assist the individual and remove any barriers to achieving recovery.[10]

Additional consideration is made regarding the amount of drugs involved. If someone is caught with more than what’s deemed “reasonable” for ten days of personal use (e.g., one gram of heroin, 10 g of opium, 25 g of cannabis)[11] they’re sent into the criminal justice system, where they can be prosecuted and sentenced under standard trafficking laws.

For individuals in possession of less than a 10-day supply, a distinction is made between whether they have an addiction or are merely casual users. Those deemed to be casual users are given information about the physical, social, and psychological health impacts of drug use, to discourage their further use. Typically, for non-dependent first-time offenders, there is almost never a penalty—just a warning and some advice.[12] Occasionally they may have to pay a small fine or do a few hours of community service.

However, individuals who have an addiction (or a substance use disorder) are not similarly sent on their way with just a slap on the wrist. These individuals are encouraged into treatment programs that are comprehensive, immediately available, and fully subsidized. Additional levels of support services are also made available, from suboxone and methadone clinics, to needle exchanges and programs designed to incentivize businesses to hire recovering addicts.[13] While none of these interventions are mandatory, anyone repeatedly found with drugs, who refuses the offer of free treatment, faces an escalating series of sanctions including confiscation of property if they are unable to pay the fines.[14] Thus, regardless of whether an offender genuinely wants help or is just trying to avoid the penalties—they get educated about addiction and steered into recovery. And that’s the key feature: decriminalization must be combined with rehabilitation to have significant positive impact. For this model to work, the money that had previously been spent enforcing drug laws and incarcerating offenders must be reallocated to subsidizing addiction treatment programs.[15]

“Decriminalization is only one part of the strategy. It’s not fair to say that it was just decriminalization that led us to the results we have today. We have an improvement in all the available indicators, but in my view, it’s the result of the complete strategy,” says Dr. João Goulão, Portugal’s national drug coordinator and the chief architect of their drug decriminalization policy.[16]

And that “complete strategy” has proven to be incredibly effective.

How effective?

The number of heroin users in Portugal has dropped from over 100,000 before the new laws were enacted to less than 25,000 at present.[17] The rates of HIV and hepatitis infections among drug users, which are the most common (and serious) health issues associated with needle-sharing, have fallen dramatically as well.[18] In 2001, 80 people died in Portugal from what physicians determined to be a drug-related deaths. A decade after the implementation of the new laws, the annual number was down to 16.[19]

A common refrain from those who opposed the decriminalization approach was that it would lead to a significant increase in drug use. But here again the statistics show the opposite. Not only has drug use not spiked as the naysayers predicted—it has decreased.[20] Portugal’s rate of cannabis use among young adults is less than half the rate in Canada, and the enormous reduction in drug-related deaths seen in the first ten years of the program has continued.[21]

In 2016 the average rate in Europe was 2.2 drug-related deaths for every 100,000 citizens. In Portugal the number was 0.4 per 100,000.[22] Statistics like that were central to the “Portugal Experiment” becoming the “Portugal Model.” In comparison, British Columbia’s drug-related death rate that same year? 20.9 per 100,000.[23] And in 2017 it shot up to 31.3.[24] This means that in 2016, the rate of drug-related deaths in British Columbia was 50 times the rate of drug-related deaths in Portugal.

Another staggering effect observed by the end of the first decade of decriminalization was the drop in the number of new HIV cases among injection drug users. In 2001 there were 1,016 reported cases.[25] By 2011 that number was only 56.[26]

Unsurprisingly, these incredibly positive results have significantly altered the way that Portuguese society perceives addiction. With the policy demonstrating that rehabilitation is indeed possible, the understanding of the nature of addiction has shifted. More Portuguese now view it not as a moral failing but rather as an illness—and believe that those affected should be helped rather than punished.[27] The Portuguese think tank “Transform” agrees. “There is essentially no relationship between the punitiveness of a country’s drug laws and its rates of drug use,” they stated in a recently released report.[28]

A result of this shift in perceptions is that the stigma associated with drug use has decreased and addicts are no longer regarded as lost causes in Portugal as they are in so many other cultures. And with the fear of being shamed or going to prison removed, addicts are more likely to be open about their problem and seek treatment.

Dr. João Goulão, Director General of the Service for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies in Portugal and the principal architect of the “Portugal Model,” said the following in a 2018 interview with the McGill International Review:

So I think the main impact of decriminalization, along with the practical issues of being a new gateway to the treatment process, is the change in mindset. People tend to admit that drug addiction is a disease with the same dignity as other diseases, and patients who suffer from it have the same dignity as patients who suffer from other diseases such as diabetes, or hypertension, or whatever. And this makes all the difference.[29]

Dr. Goulão also added that, when properly supported, recovering addicts are able to rebuild their lives and become hard-working, law-abiding members of society.

And in contrast to the right wing, “get government out of our lives” attitude that has taken root in so many countries lately, the Portuguese take great pride in the fact that their country offers universal access to treatment.[30] If the old adage that “the greatness of a nation can be measured by how it treats its poorest, most vulnerable citizens” is true, then Portugal has set the bar very high.

In 2016 alone, more than 40,000 Portuguese citizens went through one of the subsidized programs recommended by the Commissions for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction (CDT) panels,[31] with the cost being footed by the Ministry of Health to the tune of about €50 million ($70 million CAD) with an additional €20 million ($30 million CDN) provided through a charity funded by Portugal’s national lotteries.[32] A full 90% of public funding spent on addressing drug-related problems is channeled into healthcare and rehabilitation programs, with law enforcement receiving only 10%.[33]

In contrast, a 2013 report by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition showed that, in Canada, virtually the opposite is true—well over 70% of the funding spent on drug-related problems is on law enforcement.[34]

Predictably, delegations from countries around the world, looking to solve their own drug problems—from Denmark to Mexico to Canada—have come to Lisbon to study this new approach. But, as of yet, none have followed suit and adopted such a full-scale response. So why, if it’s been so effective in Portugal, have we not adopted the same model here in Canada? Could we not expect the same kind of positive results?

The answer to that is not so clear, as there are significant differences between the two countries that could make it difficult for us to replicate Portugal’s successes.

One of those differences is the widespread availability of fentanyl in Canada, a deadly scourge that has yet to strike Portugal. And then there are infrastructure differences. Portugal has approximately 170 rehabilitation facilities available for its 11 million citizens.[35] In Canada, the number of facilities that provide addiction-related services is greater, but with a population more than triple that of Portugal’s (37 million) spread across an area more than one-hundred-times larger, the logistics of implementation begin to boggle the mind.[36] Because of these significant population size and density differences, mirroring Portugal’s policy would require a staggering infrastructure investment into building or repurposing facilities, and staffing them with qualified counsellors and therapists.

And as daunting and expensive as that would be, perhaps the biggest and most complicated difference is that Portugal’s system is nationally run, and the programs are universally standardized.[37] In Canada, addiction services are delivered through a tangle of networks, local health integration networks (LHIN), agencies, and organizations.[38] It’s divided by regions which often have no central access hub or system to link up the hundreds of different resources. Add in multiple levels of government funding, limited oversight and regulation, competing accreditation agencies, and the dozens of differently structured programs (subsidized, partially subsidized, NGOs, charities, private, semi-private, etc.) and you quickly understand that dismantling and replacing them would be an incredibly complex and laborious undertaking.

Despite these daunting challenges, the success of the Portugal Model is impossible to ignore. The political will to move towards a similar system in Canada continues to gain traction.[39] More and more politicians are coming out in favour of the idea—most notably Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. And while Prime Minister Trudeau has publicly stated his position that widespread decriminalization is not the best way to deal with the opioid crisis, in some Liberal circles, support for the idea is growing. Two months ago at the party’s April convention, many members supported a resolution calling for the government to adopt a similar drug policy.[40]

B.C’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and several of her provincial colleagues at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, have similarly urged the government to consider Portugal’s recovery-oriented model, specifically citing that in order for decriminalization to work, access to subsidized treatment had to be made readily available as well.[41] And this past June, the House of Commons Health Committee strongly recommended that the federal government consider following Portugal’s lead and decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs. Liberal Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is planning to introduce a bill to move forward on the idea that, as a nation, we must formally view drug use as a health problem and not as a criminal justice problem.[42]

“I think it is incumbent on me and like-minded members of Parliament to continue to raise the issue and continue to draw attention to the evidence if it means saving lives,” said Erskine-Smith.[43]

So with all these voices calling for the kind of inspired, effective policies that have worked so well in Portugal, why still the hesitation to act?

“I think that both the skeptical public and politicians will want to see how [cannabis legalization] plays out before they tackle the challenge of decriminalization for drugs more generally,” said Rosalie Wyonch, a policy analyst with The C.D. Howe Institute, in a recent Global News interview.[44]

Despite Portugal’s success, there are many Canadians (politicians and citizens alike) who still believe that decriminalizing all drugs would not result in positive outcomes. If drugs are the problem—the conventional thinking has always gone—then making their possession no longer a crime would result in them becoming more accessible, more acceptable, and more people would end up using them. It sounds logical, in theory—but, in reality, it oversimplifies the problem of drug use.

Now, we have two decades of evidence from Portugal that demonstrate the dramatic benefits for public health and society that can be achieved through the combination of decriminalization and providing both incentive and access to get treatment. That evidence, combined with what we may learn from legalization of cannabis, may help Canadians better understand not only the benefits, but also the differences, between legalization and decriminalization. Packs of heroin won’t be sold next to cigarettes at the 7-Eleven. Shakers of cocaine won’t be on the shelf under the salt and pepper at the grocery store. Producing and selling hard drugs would remain illegal, just as it is today. The appreciable difference would be that possessing small amounts would no longer result in expensive criminal prosecution. Instead—as in Portugal—sick people would get help. A complicated, cumbersome process could be streamlined, and programs that are currently expensive would be subsidized. HIV, hepatitis, and overdose death rates could drop to a fraction of what they are today. Many lives could be saved.

As Canadians, we have always taken great pride in our ability to be leaders on the world stage. But, looking at Portugal’s success, perhaps the best way to lead right now—is to follow.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Brown, C. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (2017, 25 April). How Europe’s heroin capital solved its overdose crisis  Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/portugal-heroin-decriminalization/

[2] Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. (June 2019). National report: Apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada (January 2016 to December 2018). Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada https://health-infobase.canada.ca/datalab/national-surveillance-opioid-mortality.html

[3] Story, J. (1976). Portugal’s Revolution of Carnations: Patterns of Change and Continuity. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 52(3), 417-433. doi:10.2307/2616554.

[4] Bajekal, N. TIME. (2018, 1 August). Want to Win the War on Drugs? Portugal Might Have the Answer. Retrieved from: https://time.com/longform/portugal-drug-usedecriminalization/

[5] O’Brien, K. Boston Globe. (2011, 16 January). Drug Experiment – What happens when an entire country legalizes drug use? Retrieved from: http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2011/01/16/drug_experiment/

[6] NPR. (2017, 18 April). In Portugal, Drug Use Is Treated As A Medical Issue, Not A Crime. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/18/524380027/in-portugal-drug-use-is-treated-as-a-medical-issue-not-a-crime

[7] Bajekal, N. TIME. (2018, 1 August). Want to Win the War on Drugs? Portugal Might Have the Answer. Retrieved from: https://time.com/longform/portugal-drug-usedecriminalization/

[8] Clay, R. American Psychological Association. (2018, October). How Portugal is solving its opioid problem. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/10/portugal-opioid

[9] Allen, L. Trace, M. Klein, A. (2004) Decriminalization of drugs in Portugal: a current overview. Briefing paper 6. The Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme.

[10] Ferreira, S. The Guardian. (2017, 5 December). Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it? Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radical-drugs-policy-is-working-why-hasnt-the-world-copied-it

[11] International Centre For The Prevention of Crime. (2015, June) Prevention Of Drug-Related Crime Report. Retrieved from: http://www.unodc.org/documents/ungass2016//Contributions/Civil/ICPC/Rapport_FINAL_ENG_2015.pdf

[12] Transform Drug Policy Foundation. (2019) Drug Decriminalisation in Portugal: Setting The Record Straight. Retrieved from: https://transformdrugs.org/drug-decriminalisation-in-portugal-setting-the-record-straight/

[13] Bramham, D. Vancouver Sun. (2018, 20 July). Many in B.C with addictions have no easy path to recovery. Retrieved from: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/many-with-addictions-have-no-easy-path-to-recovery

[14] Blanchard, S.W. Filter Magazine. (2019, 28 February). Portugal’s Decriminalization of Drug Use, Explained. Retrieved from: https://filtermag.org/portugal-decriminalization-drug-use-explained/

[15] Ingraham, C. The Independent. (2015, 7 June). Portugal decriminalized drugs 14 years ago—and now hardly anyone dies from overdosing. Retrieved from:  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugal-decriminalised-drugs-14-years-ago-and-now-hardly-anyone-dies-from-overdosing-10301780.html

[16] Marshall, C. The Scotsman. (2019, 18 May). Don’t treat addicts as criminals, says Portuguese drug tsar. Retrieved from: https://www.scotsman.com/news/crime/don-t-treat-addicts-as-criminals-says-portuguese-drugs-tsar-1-4930014

[17] NPR. (2017, 18 April). In Portugal, Drug Use Is Treated As A Medical Issue, Not A Crime. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/18/524380027/in-portugal-drug-use-is-treated-as-a-medical-issue-not-a-crime

[18] Avert. (2019, 15 February). People Who Inject Drugs, HIV and AIDS. Retrieved from: https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-social-issues/key-affected-populations/people-inject-drugs

[19] Transform Drug Policy Foundation. (2019) Drug Decriminalisation in Portugal: Setting The Record Straight. Retrieved from: https://transformdrugs.org/drug-decriminalisation-in-portugal-setting-the-record-straight/

[20] Sumner, S. The Library of Economics and Liberty. (2017, 23 December). Is Portugal’s Drug Policy a Success? Retrieved from: https://www.econlib.org/archives/2017/12/is_portugals_dr.html

[21] The Globe and Mail. (2019, 26 May). How drug decriminalization could help stem an epidemic of drug overdoses. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-how-drug-decriminalization-could-help-stem-an-epidemic-of-drug/

[22] European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2019). Portugal: Country Drug Report 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2019/portugal/drug-induced-deaths_en

[23] British Columbia Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. (2018, January). Illegal Drug Overdose Epidemic—Progress Update. Retrieved from: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/overdose-awareness/final_responding_to_bcs_opioid_overdose_epidemic_-_progress_updatejan_2018.pdf

[24] British Columbia Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. (2018, January). Illegal Drug Overdose Epidemic—Progress Update. Retrieved from: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/overdose-awareness/final_responding_to_bcs_opioid_overdose_epidemic_-_progress_updatejan_2018.pdf

[25] World Health Organization—Regional office for Europe. (2018, 7 November). Portugal On Fast Track To Achieve HIV Targets Ahead of 2020 Deadline. Retrieved from:          http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/portugal/news/news/2018/7/portugal-on-fast-track-to-achieve-hiv-targets-ahead-of-2020-deadline

[26] World Health Organization—Regional office for Europe. (2018, 7 November). Portugal On Fast Track To Achieve HIV Targets Ahead of 2020 Deadline. Retrieved from:          http://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/portugal/news/news/2018/7/portugal-on-fast-track-to-achieve-hiv-targets-ahead-of-2020-deadline

[27] NPR. (2017, 18 April). In Portugal, Drug Use Is Treated As A Medical Issue, Not A Crime. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/18/524380027/in-portugal-drug-use-is-treated-as-a-medical-issue-not-a-crime

[28] Transform Drug Policy Foundation. (2019) Drug Decriminalisation in Portugal: Setting The Record Straight. Retrieved from: https://transformdrugs.org/drug-decriminalisation-in-portugal-setting-the-record-straight/

[29] The McGill International Review. (2018, 5 September) Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy 18 Years Later: An Interview With Dr. João Goulão. Retrieved from: https://www.mironline.ca/reviews-radio-portugals-drug-decriminalization-policy-18-years-later-an-interview-with-dr-joao-goulao/

[30] Ferreira, S. The Guardian. (2017, 5 December). Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it? Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radical-drugs-policy-is-working-why-hasnt-the-world-copied-it

[31] Ferreira, S. The Guardian. (2017, 5 December). Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it? Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radical-drugs-policy-is-working-why-hasnt-the-world-copied-it

[32] Ferreira, S. The Wall Street Journal (2010, 20 July). At 10, Portugal’s Drug Law Draws New Scrutiny. Retrieved from:     https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303411604575168231982388308

[33] Brown, C. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (2017, 25 April). How Europe’s heroin capital solved its overdose crisis.  Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/portugal-heroin-decriminalization/

[34] Carter, C. I , MacPherson, D. Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (2013) Getting To Tomorrow: A Report on Canadian Drug Policy, 80 – 86. Retrieved from: https://drugpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CDPC2013_en.pdf

[35] Carter, C. I , MacPherson, D. Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (2013) Getting To Tomorrow: A Report on Canadian Drug Policy, 80 – 86. Retrieved from: https://drugpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CDPC2013_en.pdf

[36] Hopper, T. The National Post (2018, 2 August) What would it look like if Canada decriminalized all the drugs. Retrieved from: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/what-would-it-look-like-if-canada-decriminalized-all-the-drugs

[37] European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2019) Portugal: Country Drug Report 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2019/portugal/drug-induced-deaths_en

[38] Statistics Canada (2019, 1 April) Population and Demography Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/subjects/population_and_demography

[39] Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2017). Addiction Treatment in Canada: The National Treatment Indicators Report. Retrieved from:     https://www.ccsa.ca/addiction-treatment-canada-national-treatment-indicators-report-2014-2015-data

[40] Maher, S. Maclean’s (2018, 17 Oct). The next step for Canada: decriminalize hard drugs. Retrieved from: https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/the-next-step-for-canada-decriminalize-hard-drugs/

[41] Hennig, C. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (2019, 1 May). B.C doctors look to Portugal for drug decriminalization lessons. Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/portugal-heroin-decriminalization/      http://www.providencehealthcare.org/news/20190502/bc-doctors-look-portugal-drug-decriminalization-lessons-bccsu

[42] CBC, (2018, 30 July). Federal Government won’t decriminalize other drugs besides cannabis. Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/federal-government-will-not-decriminalize-other-drugs-1.4767376

[43] CBC, (2018, 30 July). Federal Government won’t decriminalize other drugs besides cannabis. Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/federal-government-will-not-decriminalize-other-drugs-1.4767376

[44] Gerster, J. Global News. (2018, 18 July). Canada could decriminalize personal drug possession – but here’s why it’s unlikely. Retrieved from:  

https://globalnews.ca/news/4338429/canada-decriminalize-personal-drug-possession/