Drug policy and women: Addressing the negative consequences of harmful drug control

30 November 2012

A number of reports have documented the negative consequences of current prohibitionist drug control policies on health, human rights and development, and these are the subject of growing international attention. The past thirty years has also seen a growing number of studies on women’s participation in all levels of the drug trade. However, limited research currently exists on the particular impact of drug control on women. This briefing paper focuses on this gap.

This briefing aims to highlight the effects of drug policy on women as producers, suppliers and consumers of drugs in order to inform and guide policy makers on practices that should be avoided, as well as highlight those policies which effectively incorporate and address women’s needs. This briefing also features ‘snapshots’ from women and service providers working with women that are affected by drug policies. These snapshots explore the complex consequences that drug policies have on both individuals and services. Such snapshots also highlight examples of interventions that seek to address the negative consequences of drug control and provide positive support to women.

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