Portugal’s music festivals have started a trend of decriminalising drugs for the safety of their attendees! 

If you’ve ever been to a music festival in the United States or any other country with strict policies about drugs, you must be used to random bag checks, long security lines and everything that can basically disrupt a peaceful evening with your friends.

But the case is entirely different in Portugal. The government’s approach to drugs is almost completely outside the realm of law enforcement and the climate at music festivals is rather different. Onsite drug-checking services test purity, and virtually no one is hassled for their supplements of choice.

This relaxation of policies is because of a law that was passed almost 15 years ago where all low-level possession of drugs was decriminalised. So since then, the regulation of drugs has been handled by health officials and not police authorities.

Credits: Kevin Franciotti

At the Boom Festival in Portugal, over 100 Kosmicare volunteers committed their time to care for almost 30,000 attendees throughout the week long event. Kosmicare is basically a pioneer in helping people and providing knowledge about safer drug use. They aim is to minimise psychedelic harm reduction that is usually associated with hard drug use like LSD, Ketamines, shrooms etc. While drug use itself is still not technically legal in Portugal , the decriminalisation process has all but removed police involvement from casual use, instead keeping cops’ focus on interdiction and high-level suppliers.

In addition to this service, funded by Portuguese NGDO, Boomers could receive drug information pamphlets, ear plugs, and even tiny water bottles for nasal rinsing and paper cards meant to be used as snorting paraphernalia. 

Although all of this is a reality in Portugal right now, it is hard to say that this system will be readily implemented all over the world. One can only hope to see some change in drug regulations in the years to come for a more safer and supportive environment for everyone.