By Mikaela Hildebrand, Aram Barra, and Patrick Louis B. Angeles

The appointment of Antonio Guterres as the next United Nations Secretary-General (SG) could potentially usher in a new era of how the world approaches drugs and the people who use them.

During Guterres’ term as Prime Minister of Portugal (1995-2002), he pushed for a nationwide decriminalization of use of all drugs for personal consumption and put in place a comprehensive strategy to reduce drug-related harm through a framework based on public health rather than criminal justice. After Spain and Italy, Portugal became the third member of the European Union to follow such a framework. For the past 16 years, Portugal has stayed on this path and, today, has much to share with the world when it comes to drug policy reform. How will the new SG bring these lessons home to the UN?

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Thumbnail: Wikimedia CC Eric Bridiers