People First! – Not Profits –
JUNE, 2019 – Portugal was once Europe’s worst country for drug misery and deaths. Now, it’s a public-health success story with a system that’s been copied by its European neighbours. In 1999, use of heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs was rampant. Approximately 100,000 Portuguese, or one per cent of the population, reported an addiction to hard drugs … Hundreds died every year, says Dr. Joao Goulao, the public health physician who has received much of the credit for helping turn the situation around.
“It was devastating our people,” Goulao said. It was very similar to the situation in Vancouver now, where city morgues are regularly filled to capacity from opioid overdoses and a mobile hospital emergency ward was set up to relieve the burden on overworked first responders in the city’s drug-ravaged Downtown Eastside.