For a concise introduction to what motivates us to do our work, see our publicity leaflet "Illegal Drugs: The Problem is Prohibition; The Solution is Control and Regulation" which can be downloaded from our publications page.
An Introduction to Transform
Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a charitable think tank that seeks to draw public attention to the fact that drug prohibition itself is the major cause of drug-related harm to individuals, communities and nations, and should be replaced by effective, just and humane government control and regulation.
Transform has emerged in response to the increasingly apparent failings of current UK and international drug policy. As illegal drug use and the problems associated with illegal drug markets have continued to grow, Transform is providing new thinking on alternatives to the current enforcement-oriented regime of prohibition.
What does Transform hope to achieve?
Transform is seeking to reform policies that have attempted to control drug use through criminal justice enforcement, a failed approach that has been enormously destructive. Rather than eliminating drugs from society, drug prohibition has served only to criminalise millions of users and to create lucrative and dangerous illegal markets controlled by organised criminals.
Dismantling prohibition and regulating the market will have a number of direct and immediate impacts:
In the longer term although regulation does not directly address the underlying causes of problematic drug use, it is a vital precondition for change. For example, it will remove political and institutional obstacles to developing effective, evidence-based health interventions and integrated social programmes. Transform believe this could lay the foundations for some truly dramatic changes to the world in which we live:
Transform is the only independent UK organisation with a dedicated drug policy reform mandate and has over a decade of experience operating at the cutting edge of drug policy thinking; stimulating public and media debate, and producing informative, innovative and challenging briefings and policy documents. During this time Transform has established its credibility and influence across the drugs field, working closely with government departments, MPs and political parties, drug agencies and NGOs, police, academics and journalists.
History of Transform
Transform is the leading drug policy reform charity in the United Kingdom. Danny Kushlick, who was working with problematic drug users at the time, identified a need for an independent organisation to critique existing policy and seek more just and effective alternatives. In 1996 he established Transform Drugs Campaign Ltd as a campaigning body exploring the possibilities of legalisation and regulation of drugs.
The rational, non-confrontational approach adopted by Transform soon made it the voice for the hitherto fragmented UK drug policy reform movement. Having succeeded in obtaining core funding for an initial three years, Transform became more sophisticated at matching messages to the needs of different interest groups. We found it was possible to engage with a wider range of interest groups through cogently argued papers and presentations.
Our campaigning has succeeded in making drug policy reform a serious topic of political debate. A stream of reputable public figures - from the police, judiciary, politics, church, media, medicine, academia and business - have all expressed their support for reform.
As Transform's expertise and experience has developed it has moved away from traditional campaigning work toward an increasing focus on innovative policy development and analysis. With a growing consensus that current policy was ineffective the next step was to develop alternatives - moving from the 'why?' to the 'how?'. This shift in the focus of work led to Transform Drugs Campaign Ltd evolving into Transform Drug Policy Foundation, a registered charity and the UK's only policy think tank dedicated to drug policy reform. Transform held its official public launch as a charitable think tank in the House of Commons in November 2002, also become a non-profit company limited by guarantee.
Since that time Transform has continued to expand it staff team and funding base - becoming prgressively more influential amongst key audiences in policy making, academia, the NGO sector and the media. Since 2003 Transform has had a permenant staff presence in London and has increasingly moved into the international policy arena, in 2007 being awarded ECOSOC special consultative status at the UNited Nations.