Drug policies should be developed through a structured and objective assessment of priorities and evidence

Most countries have adopted laws to control drug production, distribution and use to comply with their obligations under the UN drug conventions. However, as policy makers have come to recognise the complexity of the factors affecting levels and patterns of drug markets and use, it has become clear that comprehensive and integrated national strategies were required. IDPC promotes a structured approach to developing and reviewing drug policies, which includes:

  • The identification of high-level objectives flowing from an assessment of which consequences of the drug markets are most harmful to society. Civil society should be engaged in discussions around which aspects of the drug problem matter most to them.
  • A set of evidence-based government activities that will be the most effective in achieving these objectives. For example, drug dependence treatment has proved to be effective in reducing drug-related health problems than arrests and punishment.
  • The involvement of all government departments responsible for these activities (including the departments of health, social affairs, justice, education and foreign affairs), in partnership with local municipal authorities, and community, faith-based and civil society organisations.
  • An appropriate amount of resources made available by the government.
  • A clear articulation of the scope and timescale of the strategy, and how and when its progress will be measured.