Our challenge is to maintain momentum: that the UN General Assembly Special Session is used as a springboard for action rather than obstacle to implementing evidence and rights-based drug policies.

As the dust settles after the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs(UNGASS) in April, one is left with mixed feelings about the event.  This is particularly the case in relation to the increasingly important issue of drug policy metrics: how member states and the UN system measure the ‘successes’ of interventions aiming to solve what has become known in UN parlance simply as the ‘world drug problem.’ 

It is true that recent years have seen the emergence of a progressively more honest and sophisticated discourse surrounding the measurement of illicit drug markets.  A growing appreciation of the problems associated with measuring an increasingly complex and fluid illicit market, however, has not been accompanied by a widespread and systemic appreciation that measurements of ‘success’ might be focusing on the wrong things.

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