João Castel-Branco Goulão

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João Castel-Branco Goulão
João Castel-Branco Goulão 2013.png
Director-General of the Service for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies
Assumed office
1 February 2012
Chairman of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
In office
1 January 2010 – 31 December 2015
Preceded byMarcel Reimen
Succeeded byLaura d'Arrigo
City Councillor for Faro
In office
Personal details
Born (1954-05-06) 6 May 1954 (age 67)
Cernache do Bonjardim, Portugal
Parent(s)João Augusto Sedge Goulão, Maria de Lourdes Seabra Castel-Branco
EducationM.D. 1978
Alma materUniversity of Lisbon

João Augusto Castel-Branco Goulão ComIH (born 6 May 1954 in Cernache do Bonjardim, Portugal) is a Portuguese physician and the current national drug coordinator for Portugal. He is credited as being an architect of Portugal's drug policy established in 2000.[1][2][3]

From 2009 to 2015, he served as chairman of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)[4] and has been a delegate at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.[5]

Medical career[edit]

Goulão attended the University of Lisbon from 1971 to 1978, graduating from the university's Faculty of Medicine. After an internship and residency, he became a general practitioner in 1983.[1]

Beginning in 1987, he started specialising in treatment of drug addicts.[6] From 1988 to 1992, he worked at the Taipas Centre in Lisbon, established in 1987 by the Portuguese Ministry of Health "for the treatment, recovery and social reintegration of drug addicts."[7]

In 1997, he became the national director of the network of drug treatment centres in Portugal. In 1998, Goulão was a member of the 11-person committee that formed the report on which Portugal's current drug policy of decriminalisation was based.[6]

"[The committee] indicated directions in which to move with respect to policies of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social reinsertion. One of our premises is that drug abusers are ill, not criminals, and that they need help," he said.[8]


From 1997 to 2002, Goulão served on the scientific committee for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), an agency of the European Union. Since 2005, he has been Portugal's representative at the agency. He served two terms as chairman of the board for EMCDDA (2009–2011 and 2012–2015).[1][9]

Since 2005, Goulão has been head of the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Adictícios e nas Dependências) (SICAD), within Portugal's Ministry of Health. He is also chairman of Portugal's Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction (Instituto da Droga e da Toxicodependência) (IDT).[1]

Award and Honours[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sinopse curricular de João Augusto Castel-Branco Goulão" (in Portuguese). Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências (SICAD). 30 April 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  2. ^ Jimenez, Maria (16 June 2016). "Portugal's drug decriminalization could set example for Canada". Toronto Star. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  3. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (22 September 2017). "How to Win a War on Drugs". New York Times. The new approach was a gamble. “We were facing a devastating situation, so we had nothing to lose,” recalled João Castel-Branco Goulão, a public health expert and the architect of the policy (“our national hero,” as one Portuguese cabinet minister told me).
  4. ^ "Board re-elects unanimously Portuguese member João Goulão as EMCDDA Chairman" (Press release). EMCDDA. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Ireland to Host Marc Emery and Dr. Joao Goulao for Speaking Tour". Students for Sensible Drug Policy. 28 August 2014. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Dr. João Castel-Branco Goulão". Academia Puertorriqueña de Jurisprudencia y Legislación. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Decreto 20-A/87, de 12 de Junho" (in Portuguese). MINISTÉRIO DA SAÚDE. 12 June 1987. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  8. ^ Queiroz, Mario (31 July 2012). "In Portugal, We Fight the Illness, Not the People Who Suffer from It". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  9. ^ Cotrim, António (3 December 2015). "Francesa substitui João Goulão na presidência do Observatório Europeu da Droga". Observador (in Portuguese). Agência Lusa. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Município distinguiu ilustres farenses no dia do concelho" (in Portuguese). Município de Faro. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Leading Drug Policy Reformers to be Honored at International Drug Policy Reform Conference" (Press release). Drug Policy Alliance. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2015.

External links[edit]