Turkey’s move from illicit to licit opium production for medicinal use demonstrates that an orderly transition, with a range of benefits for the producer country, is possible in places with the institutional capacity to deliver the right regulatory framework.
Despite the growing consensus that the war on drugs has failed, the drug policy debate often remains driven more by populist politics, geopolitical pressures and sensationalist media headlines than by rational analysis.
The stated aim of drug prohibition is to reduce the production, supply and use of certain drugs to ultimately create a 'drug-free society'. As the 1998 United Nations Drug Control Programme once put it: A Drug Free World: We Can Do It! It hardly needs saying that such a world has not been achieved: globally, drug use has steadily increased over the last 50 years.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms have always been a central theme of the drug law reform debate, but arguments in this area are sometimes not well thought through.
It is often stated that drugs are primarily a health issue. Indeed, this has become a common refrain in the high-level drugs debate. This is a useful point to emphasise because it highlights just how anomalous the status of prohibited drugs is in the context of wider health policy.
The central aim of Swedish drug policy is to create a drug-free society. To achieve this aim, the country has adopted a punitive, enforcement-led approach to drugs. It is this approach, some have argued, that is responsible for Sweden’s historically low levels of drug use. But they're wrong.
Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report that calls for the legal regulation of drugs. The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders ever to call for such far-reaching reform.
Transform has a new publication out today. Organised into 12 key subject areas, our latest guide contains concise summaries of the arguments for legal regulation, along with effective responses to many commonly heard concerns.
The Spanish translation of Transform’s cannabis regulation guide is available to download for free today. The book is aimed at policy makers, drug policy reform advocates and affected communities all over the world, who are witnessing the question change from, 'Should we maintain cannabis prohibition?’ to ‘How will legal regulation work in practice?'
In 2001, Portugal decided to stop treating personal drug possession as a criminal offence, and instead treat it as a health issue. Now, more than 10 years on, we look at the effects of this policy – and some of the claims that have been made about it.