This Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme briefing paper seeks to compare the drugs situation in a number of developed countries. Data from eight indicators (prevalence of drug use, “problem drug use,” drug-related deaths, rates of drug related HIV and HCV, drug related arrests and punishments, drug-related crimes, cost of drug use and drug policy expenditure) are for the first time compared across six European countries (Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom) the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Comparisons across countries are often made. Further, estimates are often made about regional or global pictures of drug use, drug-related problems or the response to the drug situation; internationally, data are repeatedly asserted as crucial for informing evidence based drug policy.  The utility of such exercises is clear: in many senses, drug markets are global, and usefully examined using such a perspective. This briefing paper, however, highlights  the difficulty in assessing some of these indicators, primarily because a reliance on routine data collections for many of the indicators means that they not measured the same way across countries. Moreover, in many countries, no routine data collection captures some of the indicators at all. Mindful of the difficulties with making direct comparisons or drawing firm policy conclusions from the raw data, the brief comments upon the data collected, briefly reviews the indicators and then considers some opportunities for future work.  It is hoped that the data and discussion presented will not only stimulate further research, but also be of use to analysts and policy makers in helping to inform their search for effective policy and programme responses to the continuing challenges posed by illicit drug markets around the world.