MENAHRA and MENANPUD at the Portuguese Parliament

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The Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA) and the Middle East and North Africa Network of/for People Who Use Drugs (MENANPUD) conducted a study tour in collaboration with UNITE organization from 14 to 17 October 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal.

The aim of this visit was to share experiences and perspectives about the critical issues facing harm reduction and decriminalization and also to acquire more skills in the political accountability and drug policy environment, in addition, to increase the visibility for networks of People Who Use Drugs (PWUD).

 Day 1:

The 1st day started with a visit to the Portuguese parliament along with Victoria Grandsoult and Amish Laxmidas from Unite, where a tour was made to show all the sections of the parliament. Also, on this tour they also presented the way the parliament works. The tour ended at the council hall.

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The day activities continued with a meeting with UNITE’s legal consultant Mr. Oscar Madureira, where he presented a brief history of the work that had been made on the laws of drugs, decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use, and the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.

Day 2:
The 2nd day began with a meeting with SICAD Executive Director Mr. Joao Castel Branco Goulao and Elsa Mala. Mr. Joao. A glance on drug use and drug policy in Portugal and the main points to reach decriminalization of drugs and a national plan was presented and discussed.

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The second part of the day continued with a visit to “Ares do Pinhal” where a meeting with President Mr. Carlos Gower and the team was made. They shared and explained how they work and operate on harm reduction programs. The day ended with a visit to the mobile unit at Avenida de Ceuta to check closely how the work is done.

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Day 3:

The 3rd day started with a visit to the In-Mouraria harm reduction center, where Mr. Alvaro Avila gave a presentation on their work. In-Mouraria is responsible for the only 2 mobile units in Portugal that contain the consumption room. After this, a visit to one of these mobile units was made to check its work.

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In the second part of the day, a visit to GAT organization was made where President Luis Mendao, gave a brief history about the work of GAT, and about the Portuguese laws.

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