EXHIBITIONS 2022

How Portugal Won the War on Drugs

For the past two decades, Portugal has been treading in uncharted territory, after deciding to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs. In 2001, facing a heroin epidemic, lawmakers decided to invest in harm reduction strategies and began treating people with addiction as patients who needed help, not as criminals who should be persecuted. Now, twenty years on, Decriminalization was a success, and the rest of the globe seems to be catching on.

This work, shot between 2017 and 2021 shows the efforts by outreach teams, methadone replacement programs, supervised consumption rooms to help those who are affected by addiction.

As the world is dealing with a destructive Pandemic, Portugal’s policy is being put to the test. With access to healthcare and rehabilitation limited, the organizations that support those with addictions are concerned about an increase in the number of people using their services. As relapses increase and incomes diminish, especially in migrant communities, the situation is quickly becoming difficult to handle. But this health crisis can also be seen as an opportunity, according to João Goulão, Portugal’s Drug Czar, as more and more people “are turning to methadone replacement therapy and seeking help”.


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Xposure hosts solo exhibition spaces for acclaimed photographers along with group exhibitions for professional institutions. All exhibiting photographers will be present during the festival, enabling you the opportunity to meet and talk to them about their work.