As the world prepares for the 2016 United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), the global counter-narcotics regime faces profound challenges. Many countries now find the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. The United States, creator of the current prohibition regime in the 1950s, has grown less interested in playing the role of the world’s toughest drug enforcer. However, other crucial players such as Russia and China remain committed to the preservation of the existing approaches.

As the international community debates how to move forward, Brookings Institution Senior Fellows have led a project on Improving Global Drug Policy: Comparative Perspectives and UNGASS 2016 to evaluate the effectiveness of counter-narcotics policies. The policy brief series analyses drug-related threats, the effectiveness of anti-drug policies in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa and their implications for UNGASS 2016. 

This panel, organised by the IISS in collaboration with the International Drug Policy Consortium, discussed the project’s findings with four of its authors.

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