The streets of Lisbon, Portugal were once described as littered with syringes. During the 1990s, this southern European country roughly the size of Maine had one of the worst drug epidemics in the world. Today, Portugal boasts one of the lowest rates of overdose deaths in the European Union. How did they do it?
Annajane Yolken, a public health researcher and head of the Providence-based nonprofit Protect Families First, traveled to Portugal to find out. Yolken was part of a national delegation to Portugal in March organized by the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance. She spoke about her experience with Rhode Island Public Radio’s health reporter, Lynn Arditi.