chapter  1
Perceptions of drugs and drug users in Portugal
WithMaria do Carmo Gomes
Pages 13

The chapter presents some of the results relating to Portuguese opinions on three fundamental dimensions - the drugs, the drug users and the social consequences of addiction. The dependent variables were those relating to the three ways of exploring perceptions of the drug phenomena, namely perceptions of drugs, drug users and the social consequences of drug use. Research on the relationship between social deprivation and drug dealing and use shows highly specific configurations in Portugal. In the conurbations of Lisbon and Oporto, there are concentrations of neighbourhoods in which drug dealing and use are prevalent. Nevertheless, compared with other European Union countries, Portugal is in a serious position with regard to drug use and addiction. Intermittent policies on intervention combined with economic cycles of crisis and social difficulties have left Portuguese society with serious problems to confront at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and drug addiction is undoubtedly one of these problems.