Links to Key Reports on drug policy reform. Click below for more detail and to read the reports:
Reports on UK Drug Policy
UKDPC: An Analysis of UK Drug Policy (2007)
A detailed and authoritative review, independently commissioned from policy experts Peter Reuter and Alex Stevens, which presents the most up to date available data in an objective and readable format. A useful resource informing the debate over the future of policy (whilst not making specific policy recommendations).
It arrives during a particularly important window of opportunity as the UK's 10-year drug strategy ends and the process of designing a new - hopefully improved - one gets underway.
Download the reprot from the UKDPC website
Pathways to Problems (2006)
This report published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs takes a comprehensive look at the use of psychoactive drugs - including tobacco and alcohol - by young people in the UK today. It looks at the reason why people use drugs, where people get them from and whether hazardous usage can be prevented.
Read the full report
RSA commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy (2007)
The report suggests that the current policy is based on ‘moral panic’, suggests that most drug use is relatively harmless, that tobacco and alcohol should be included in the drug policy making process and that prohibition cannot stop people using drugs – they are here to stay.
Transform submitted a range of information to the committee for consideration.
Read the report here.
Strategy Unit report (2003)
In June 2003 the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit produced a detailed economic and social analysis of international and domestic drug policy that showed that supply-side enforcement interventions are actively counterproductive.
Phase 1 of the report was partially published in July 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act. The timing of the publication caused controversy as it was released only few hours before the Live 8 concerts were due to take place and it was suggested by some people that this was cynical attempt to 'bury' the report in other news. The full report was leaked a few days later and was the lead story in The Guardian.
Read Transform's briefing / summary on Phase 1
Phase 2 of the report was leaked in March 2006.
Read Transform's briefing / summary on Phase 2
Home Affairs Select Committee, Third Report: THE GOVERNMENT'S DRUGS POLICY: IS IT WORKING? (2002)
Chairman: Mr Chris Mullin MP
The HASC report is the most high level and significant critique of current policy to emerge in recent years. It is also the first detailed parliamentary consideration of decriminalisation and legalisation since the 1971 misuse of drugs act entered the statute books. The range of expert witness evidence taken and the scope and detail of the report and is unprecedented. One of the final recommendations was "that the Government initiates a discussion within the Commission on narcotic drugs of alternative ways - including the possibility of legalsiation and regulation - to Tacklethe global drugs dilemma."
Read the report here
For further information and analysis see the Transform website HASC page
Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971 Police Foundation (2000).
Chairman: Viscountess Runciman DBE
The Police Foundation is a independent charitable organisation (no to be confused with the Police Federation) which reports on issues of police concern. This inquiry was set up in August 1997 to review the effectiveness of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It made a detailed analysis of current policy failings and made recommendations for a number rational reforms, including the reclassification of cannabis, ecstasy and LSD, and a focus of spending on health rather than punitive enforcement. It did not examine the possibility of decriminalisation or legalisation in any detail.
Read the report here
Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice: Making sense of Drugs and Crime (c.2003)
This report goes beyond an analysis of the 'drug problem' to indicate how a harm reducing and more principled and effective penal policy on drugs, alcohol and crime could be developed.
Download it here in pdf or word format. (It is located towards the bottom of the page).
Drugs Policy – a radical look ahead?
This paper, written by Richard Brunstrom
(Chief Constable, North Wales Police), was prepared for the North Wales Police Authority
to consider as a response to the HM Government Consultation
Paper, ‘Drugs: our community, your say’, and the forthcoming
Welsh Assembly Government onsultation on the All Wales
Substance Misuse Strategy. It is highly critial of current UK drug policy and calls for a pragmatic approach to drugs "driven by ethics not
Download the report here
From War to Work: Drug Treatment, Social Inclusion and Enterprise (2002)
Published by: the Foreign Policy Centre
Written by: Rowena Young. (then Development Director at Kaleidoscope, currently Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.)
“This report looks at how methods of dealing with drugs in South-East Asia can teach us lessons in the "war on drugs" in this country, and suggests training and enterprise as an alternative to the simple treatment model. And how this technique can be used to address the structural issues – unemployment, social exclusion, isolation – that lie behind drug dependency.”
Read a pdf. version of the report here
Drug classification: making a hash of it? (2006)
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee produced this report as one of three case studies looking at the Government's handling of scientific advice, risk and evidence in policy making. It addresses the relationship between scientific advice and evidence and the classification of illegal drugs. The report concluded that the current ABC classification system was not fit for purpose and found a number of serious flaws in the way in which the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) carried out its business.
Transform submitted both oral and written evidence to the committee, which was included in the final report.
Read the full report (PDF Format)
Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse (Lancet 2007)
This paper has very usefully put legal and illegal drugs on the same harm continuum, and in doing so exposing the contradictions, lack of logic, and false assumption that underpin much drug policy thinking here and around the world.
Read the report here
Evidence-Based Cost Effectiveness
Drugs Value for Money Review, July 2007 Report
This document was released by the Home Office in January 2010, two and a half years after Transform requested it under the Freedom of Information Act.
Read in full here
The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition (Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, USA, 2008)
By: Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University and funded by the CJPF, Dec 2008
This paper, published on the anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibtion, looks at how much drug prohibition costs the American federal and state governments and argues that a huge amount of money would be saved if this policy was repealed and alternative systems put in place.
- The report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $44.1 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $30.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $13.8 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately $12.9 billion of the savings would results from legalization of marijuana, $19.3 billion from legalization of cocaine and heroin, and $11.6 from legalization of other drugs.
- The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $32.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs are taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $6.7 of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana, $22.5 billion from legalization of cocaine and heroin, and $3.5 from legalization of other drugs.
- Whether drug legalization is a desirable policy depends on many factors other than the budgetary impacts discussed here. Rational debate about drug policy should nevertheless consider these budgetary effects.
- The estimates provided here are not definitive estimates of the budgetary implications of a legalized regime for currently illegal drugs. The analysis employs assumptions that plausibly err on the conservative side, but substantial uncertainty remains about the magnitude of the budgetary impacts.
To read this paper in full, click here.
Home Office / Treasury - Stocktake of Anti-Drugs Interventions and Cost-Effectiveness (2001)
"This paper meets the request in the review Terms of Reference for a stocktake of existing anti-drugs expenditures and the functions and activities funded by these"
This 35 page report has recently been released following a Freedom of Information request from Transform. It reviews in detail the outcomes for each respective element of the 1998 ten year drug strategy up to 2003 and their Comprehensive Spending Review targets in relation to money spent. FOI requests by Transform for a number of more contemporary cost effectiveness reviews and value for money studies were refused (during 2007) despite the crucial importance of such cost-effectiveness studies to the - now closed- strategy review process.
It is in four parts (scanned pdf documents - 1 meg each)
National Audit Office - Customs & Excise (1998).
The NAO produced a report entitled "HM Customs & Excise: The Prevention of Drug Smuggling"
To view a press release on this click here.
The document is not available as a pdf, however you can purchase the document, details follow:
Publication date: 15/07/1998
HC 854 1997-1998
Purchase paper copy from The Stationery Office (£8.15)
National Audit Office - Drug Treatment & Testing Orders (2004)
The NAO produced a document entitled "The Drug Treatment & Testing Order: early lessons."
To read the full document click here (pdf).
National Audit Office - "Modern Policy Making" (2001)
The NAO's report "Modern Policy-Making: Ensuring Policies Deliver Value for Money" identifies good practice in policy design and implementation by drawing on selected case studies and examples of good practice from departments, local authorities, the private and voluntary sectors.
Read the report here.
'What we don't know keeps hurting us' : Informing America's policy on Illegal Drugs (2001) (America)
By: Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs, and this briefing was originally for members of Congress and congressional staff only.
"The absence of evidence came to be the focal concern of the committee, as we gradually concluded that the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement. Viewing the unending public debate about drug policy, the committee became painfully aware that what we don’t know keeps hurting us. It troubles the committee that we are not able to offer the nation a
conclusive or even suggestive basis for choosing among alternative portfolios of prevention, treatment, and enforcement. Some, believing that present knowledge does support one policy or another, may find this report unpalatable. We hope that Americans will take the report as a call to action to initiate data collection and research that will enable more informed policy making in the years ahead".
Source: free executive summary: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10021&page=1
Legalisation, Regulation and Control
Recommendations section from the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (2010)
"76. Member States should:
• Ensure that all harm-reduction measures (as itemized by UNAIDS) and drug-dependence treatment services, particularly opioid substitution therapy, are available to people who use drugs, in particular those among incarcerated populations.
• Decriminalize or de-penalize possession and use of drugs.
• Repeal or substantially reform laws and policies inhibiting the delivery of essential health services to drug users, and review law enforcement initiatives around drug control to ensure compliance with human rights obligations.
• Amend laws, regulations and policies to increase access to controlled essential medicines.
77. The United Nations drug control bodies should:
• Integrate human rights into the response to drug control in laws, policies and programmes.
• Encourage greater communication and dialogue between United Nations entities with an interest in the impact of drug use and markets, and drug control policies and programmes.
• Consider creation of a permanent mechanism, such as an independent commission, through which international human rights actors can contribute to the creation of international drug policy, and monitor national implementation, with the need to protect the health and human rights of drug users and the communities they live in as its primary objective.
• Formulate guidelines that provide direction to relevant actors on taking a human rights-based approach to drug control, and devise and promulgate rights-based indicators concerning drug control and the right to health.
• Consider creation of an alternative drug regulatory framework in the long term, based on a model such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."
Read the whole report here.
'After the War on Drugs - Options for Control' (UPDATED 29.03.06)
A major report by Transform examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap for reform.
Read complete report here(pdf)
A Public Health Approach to Drug Control (2005)
By: British Colombia Health Officers Council
This report was produced by an independent group of public health officials in British Colombia and is a detailed consideration of regulatory options for currently illegal drugs. Thoughtful, detailed and logical analysis.
Effective Drug Control: Toward A New Legal Framework' (2005)
By: The King County Bar Association
This report comes from the drug policy project of the Kings County (Seattle) Bar Association. They have produced an excellent report discussing the same issues from a slightly different perspective. Again this is a detailed and comprehensive review of regulatory options and wider policy considerations (Transform's work is referenced). They have produced a number of other useful drug law policy reports.
Thinking Seriously About Alternatives to Drug Prohibition
Essay by Ethan Nadelmann looking looking at frameworks for legalistion.
Critique of Prohibition
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (2010)
By: Anand Grover, United Nations Special Rapporteur
A UN report which highlights the shortcomings of existing international drug policy and advocates the decriminalisation of drug use. The report also recommends the creation of an alternative drug regulatory framework based on a model such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This is the clearest statement to date from within the UN system about the harms that drug policies have caused and the need for a fundamental shift in drug policy.
"The current international system of drug control has focused on creating a drug free world, almost exclusively through use of law enforcement policies and criminal sanctions. Mounting evidence, however, suggests this approach has failed, primarily because it does not acknowledge the realities of drug use and dependence. While drugs may have a pernicious effect on individual lives and society, this excessively punitive regime has not achieved its stated public health goals, and has resulted in countless human rights violations.
People who use drugs may be deterred from accessing services owing to the threat of criminal punishment, or may be denied access to health care altogether. Criminalization and excessive law enforcement practices also undermine health promotion initiatives, perpetuate stigma and increase health risks to which entire populations - not only those who use drugs - may be exposed. Certain countries incarcerate people who use drugs, impose compulsory treatment upon them, or both. The current international drug control regime also unnecessarily limits access to essential medications, which violates the enjoyment of the right to health.
The primary goal of the international drug control regime, as set forth in the preamble of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), is the “health and welfare of mankind”, but the current approach to controlling drug use and possession works against that aim. Widespread implementation of interventions that reduce harms associated with drug use — harm-reduction initiatives — and of decriminalization of certain laws governing drug control would improve the health and welfare of people who use drugs and the general population demonstrably. Moreover, the United Nations entities and Member States should adopt a right to health approach to drug control, encourage system-wide coherence and communication, incorporate the use of indicators and guidelines, and consider developing a new legal framework concerning certain illicit drugs, in order to ensure that the rights of people who use drugs are respected, protected and fulfilled."
To read the full report, click here.
Organized Crime and its Threat to Security (2009) (UNODC)
By: Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UNODC. Paper presented to the
United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice,
Another interesting report from the Executive Director of the UNODC that highlights the negative consequences of the drug control system. This paper focuses on organised crime, which Costa says 'has gone global' and threatens to undermine security in 'cities, nations and entire regions'.
points out that 'drug cartels are spreading violence in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, West Africa is under attack from narco-trafficking.'
He makes the link between the current drug control system and 'the creation of a lucrative black market for controlled substances,
dominated by powerful crime cartels and resulting in unprecedented violence and
The origin and the mechanics of this drug-driven crime phenomenon are easily
understood. Drugs are a commodity. Their scarcity – through controls – boosts prices out
of proportion to production costs...
Criminal competition for the drug markets is fierce, resulting in real wars on the
streets of many cities, worldwide. Profits are ploughed back into increasing the capacity
for violence and into corrupting public officials. Together, violence and corruption drive
away investment and undermine governance to the point that the rule of law itself becomes
questionable. A vicious circle is thus triggered, with lawlessness allowing even greater drug trafficking, with ever higher proceeds abrading the social contract between society and its elected leaders.
'The question of assessing the balance of advantages between the considerable costs
of controlling drugs and the undeniable health benefits derived from it, has come up during
the UNGASS review. Are the consequences so severe that the response is worse than the problem it is meant to address? This cost/benefit analysis is hard to quantify, but the issue certainly needs to be tackled head-on.'
The recognition that there is a need to weigh up the costs and benefits of prohibition is a positive step forward, and Transform has been calling for this for a long time, however Costa still argues that alternative options would be 'a cynical resignation
of the state’s responsibility to protect the health of its citizens...'
To read the full report, click here.
A Report on Global Illicit Drug Markets 1998-2007 (2009) (European Commission)
Edited by: Peter Reuter and Franz Trautmann, co-funded by Rand Corp and Trimbos Institute, March 2009
A summary of the papers concludes that there is no evidence that the global drug problem was reduced during the UNGASS period from 1998 to 2007.
- Enforcement of drug prohibitions has caused substantial unintended harms; many were predictable.
- A major limitation for the description of problems and policies regarding the world drug problem, as well as for the assessment of the effectiveness of policies, is the weakness of existing and lack of availability of relevant data.
- Interventions against production can affect where drugs are produced, such as the changing location of coca growing within the Andean region which is plausibly related to the actions of the governments of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru to control the problem. However, there is a lack of evidence that controls can reduce total global production. The same applies to trafficking.
- The global number of users of cocaine and heroin expanded over the period. In most Western countries the number of frequent users of heroin has declined through most of the last ten years, while a serious epidemic of opiate use occurred in some countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
To read the full report, click here.
Drugs and Democracy: Towards a Paradigm Shift (2009) (Latin American)
By: Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, February 2009
The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy was convened by former presidents Fernando Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico in order to evaluate the impacts of the 'war on drugs' on Latin America. They argue that prohibition has failed and are calling for a 'broad debate about alternative strategies'.
'Prohibitionist policies based on eradication of production.... [and] criminalization of consumption have not yielded the desired results.'
The statement highlights some of the negative consequences of the 'war on drugs':
- A rise in organised crime caused by the international narcotics trade
- A huge growth in drug-related violence affecting the whole of society but particularly the poor and the youth
- The criminalisation of politics and the politicisation of crime, including the 'infiltration of democratic institutions by organised crime'
- The corruption of public servants, judicial systems, governments, and those in charge of enforcing law and order
The commission calls for an open and honest debate on drug policy arguing that:
'Current drug repression policies are firmly rooted in prejudices, fears and ideological visions. The whole issue has become taboo which inhibits public debate...
'Hence, breaking the taboo and acknowledging the failure of current policies and their consequences is the inescapable prerequisite for opening up the discussion about a new paradigm leading to safer, more efficient and humane drug policies...
'The way forward lies in acknowledging the insufficient results of current policies and, without dismissing the immense efforts undertaken, launching a broad debate about alternative strategies...'
They also argue that drug policy must be evidence-based:
'A new paradigm to address the drug problem must be less centered on repressive measures and more regardful of national societies and cultures. Effective policies must be based on scientific knowledge and not on ideological biases. This effort must involve not only governments but all sectors of society...'
To read the full statement, click here.
We Can Do It Again (2008) (USA)
By: Law Enforcement Against Prohibtion and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. December 2008
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of alcohol prohibtion in the United States, LEAP published a paper arguing that lessons need to be learned from the repeal of alcohol prohibition.
'But by learning a lesson from American history and ending today's expensive and counterproductive prohibition of drugs like we ended the earlier prohibition of alcohol, we can cut wasteful spending and generate new revenues, all while making America's streets safer. A legal and regulated drug trade will lead to far fewer people being arrested and incarcerated at taxpayer expense and will generate essential new revenues, some of which can be earmarked to finance improved drug treatment and recovery.
'After spending a trillion tax dollars and making 39 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, drugs are now generally cheaper, more potent and easier for our children to access than they were 40 years ago at the beginning of the 'drug war'.
'Today's prohibition of the many so-called 'controlled substances' is similar to, but is in many respects significantly more complex than, alcohol prohibition. The wide variety of prohibited substances; their global cultivation, production and trade; the global ease of capital movement and the connection between the illegal drug trade and political insurgencies are all modern features of prohibition that our great grandparents did not have to face. Nonetheless, in so many of its essential features drug prohibition has echoed alcohol prohibition's impact on the economy, crime, public safety and public health. Alcohol prohibition involved ethnic, religious and regional prejudices, and those ugly features are dramatically worse under the racial stereotyping and disparities of today's drug enforcement.
'At a moment that is as economically threatening to millions of Americans as the Great Depression, we would do well to learn the lessons that history so clearly and compellingly provides and repeal prohibition, eliminating its numerous unintended consequences.'
To read the rest of the report, click here.
Making Drug Control 'Fit For Purpose': Building on the UNGASS Decade (2008) (UNODC)
By: Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UNODC. Paper presented to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), March 2008
The analysis is this paper is striking, not least because the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlights the key 'unintended consequences' of the drug control regime.
'The first unintended consequence is a huge criminal black market that thrives in order to get prohibited substances from producers to consumers, whether driven by a 'supply push' or a 'demand pull', the financial incentives to enter this market are enormous. There is no shortage of criminals competing to claw out a share of a market in which hundred fold increases in price from production to retail are not uncommon...
The second unintended consequence is what one night call policy displacement. Public health, which is clearly the first principle of drug control... was displaced into the background...
The third unintended consequence is geographical displacement. lt is often called the balloon effect because squeezing (by tighter controls) one place produces a swelling (namely an increase)in another place...
A system appears to have been created in which those who fall into the web of addiction find themselves excluded and marginalized from the social mainstream, tainted with a moral stigma, and often unable to find treatment even when they may be motivated to want it...
The concept of harm reduction is often made into an unnecessarily controversial issue as if there were a contradiction between (i) prevention and treatment on one hand and (ii) reducing the adverse health and social consequences of drug use on the other hand. This is a false dichotomy. These policies are complementary... It stands to reason, then, that drug control, and the implementation of the drug Conventions, must proceed with due regard to health and human rights.'
Unfortunately where the paper falls down, is that Costa advocates 'more of the same' rather than any consideration of alternative policy options.
Click here to read the whole paper.
Domestic Drug Markets and Prohibition (2006) (Australia)
By: Andrew Macintosh, Deputy Director of the Australia Institute. He gave this paper to Parliament House, Canberra on 3 July 2006.
In it he discusses recent trends in domestic drug markets and what they say about the effectiveness of current drug policies. To do this, he uses three illicit drugs: cannabis, heroin and methamphetamines. He concludes:
"The recent trends in the cannabis, heroin and methamphetamine markets vividly demonstrate the weaknesses in prohibition and the need for reform. Clearly neither demand-side nor supply-side drug law enforcement are an effective way of addressing drug problems....The key however is to redress the imbalance. The majority of resources should not go to drug law enforcement when we know we can get better results from investing in treatment and prevention. Further, drug laws should not be allowed to obstruct harm minimisation initiatives.... The other crucial issue is to ease the punitive pressure on drug users. For mine, the first step in this endeavour should be to adopt a Dutch-style approach, where drug use remains outlawed but police are instructed not to arrest and prosecute users".
For the rest of the paper visit here.
WHO/UNICRI Cocaine Project (1995) (Global)
By: WHO/UNICRI. The report was never formally published after the US threatened to withdraw funding for WHO research if they released it. Transnational Institute however have managed to get hold of a copy of the briefing kit and got it out into the public domain.
Some of the key conclusions of the report were:
- "Health problem; from the use of legal substances, particularly alcohol and tobacco, are greater than health problems from cocaine use.
- Few experts describe cocaine as invariably harmful to health. Cocaine-related problems are widely perceived to be more common and more severe for intensive, high-dosage users and very rare and much less severe for occasional, low-dosage users. " (pg. 1)
The report highlights the criticism that supply reduction and enforcement policies are not working and that alternatives needs to be explored.
"The largest future issue is whether international organisations, such as WHO and the United Nations Drug Control Programme, and national governments will continue to focus on supply reduction approaches such as crop destruction and substitution and law enforcement efforts in the face of mounting criticism and cynicism about the effectiveness of these approaches. Countries such as Australia, Bolivia, Canada and Colombia are now interested in examining a range of options to legalize and decriminalize the personal use and possession of cocaine and other related products. There needs to be more assessment of the adverse effects of current policies and strategies and development of innovative approaches." (pg. 30)
"The studies identified strict limitations to drug control policies which rely almost exclusively on repressive measures. Current national and local approaches which over-emphasize punitive drug control measures may actually contribute to the development of heath-related problems. An increase in the adoption of more humane, compassionate responses such as education, treatment and rehabilitation programmes is seen as a desirable counterbalance to the overreliance on law enforcement measures." (pg. 29)
The study also points out that 'anti-drug' campaigns are not necessarily effective, especially when they are not rooted in fact.
"Despite a broad range of educational and prevention approaches, most programmes do not prevent myths but perpetuate stereotypes and misinform the general public. Such programmes rely on sensationalized, exaggerated statements about cocaine which misinform about patterns of use, stigmatize users, and destroy the educator's credibility. This has given most education campaigns a naïve image and has reduced confidence in the quality and accuracy of these campaigns…" (pg. 23)
With regards to who uses cocaine, the study says,
"It is not possible to describe an "average cocaine user". An enormous variety was found in the types of people who use cocaine, the amount of drug used, the frequency of use, the duration and intensity of use, the reasons for using and any associated problems they experience." (pg. 1)
For the whole report click here.
The minutes of the meeting at which the US representative threatened to withdraw funding also make interesting reading.
"The United States Government had been surprised to note that the package seemed to make a case for the positive uses of cocaine, claiming that use of the coca leaf did not lead to noticeable damage to mental or physical health, that the positive health effects of coca leaf chewing might be transferable from traditional settings to other countries and cultures, and that coca production provided financial benefits to peasants...
"... it [the US] took the view that the study on cocaine, evidence of WHO's support for harm-reduction programmes and previous WHO association with organizations that supported the legalization of drugs, indicated that its programme on substance abuse was heading in the wrong direction. The press package undermined the efforts of the international community to stamp out the illegal cultivation and production of coca, inter alia through international conventions.
"The United States Government considered that, if WHO activities relating to drugs failed to reinforce proven drug control approaches, funds for the relevant programmes should be curtailed. In view of the gravity of the matter, he asked the Director-General for an assurance that WHO would dissociate itself from the conclusions of the study and that, in substance abuse activities, an approach would not be adopted that could be used to justify the continued production of coca."
A summary of the minutes can be found here.
Preventing Harm from Psychoactive Substances (2005)
By: The city of Vancouver
This report, the drugs prevention strategy for the city of Vancouver, Canada, also contains calls for regulated drug markets based around a public health model of drug control. Not as detailed as the above on regulatory options but significant in that it is an official municipal drug strategy. It also cites the Transform report. Well worth a look, particularly for those working in Uk local government drug policy.
The government produced a document entitled "Harm Reduction: Tackling drug use and HIV in the developing world" in 2005.
To read this click here (pdf).
What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?
From the British Journal of Criminology, 50(6)
By Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Alex Stevens
The issue of decriminalizing illicit drugs is hotly debated, but is rarely subject to evidence-based analysis. This paper examines the case of Portugal, a nation that decriminalized the use and possession of all illicit drugs on 1 July 2001. Drawing upon independent evaluations and interviews conducted with 13 key stakeholders in 2007 and 2009, it critically analyses the criminal justice and health impacts against trends from neighbouring Spain and Italy. It concludes that contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding. The article discusses these developments in the context of drug law debates and criminological discussions on late modern governance.
Read the article here
Room for Manoeuvre (March 2000)
Overview of comparative legal research into national drug laws of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden and their relation to three international drugs conventions.
Read a pdf. version of the report here
Huge collection of major studies of drugs and drug policy from around the world.
Drugpolicy.org features one of the largest online collections of journal articles, reports, books, testimonies and fact sheets that focus on drugs and drug policy from economic, criminal justice, and public health perspectives.