The use of punishments such as incarceration for those involved in the illicit drug trade has long been relied upon a deterrent. However, it has resulted in the imposition of disproportionate sentencing (including the use of the death penalty) and overcrowded prisons, with high risks to health, social cohesion and human rights. Some countries and jurisdictions are now moving towards decriminalisation, alternatives to prison and the regulation of some markets.
As deaths from drug use reach decade long highs and a painful spike in youth violence is linked to the illicit drugs market solutions are clearly in need. This symposium seeks to use evidence and experience to bring informed discussion into the arena of these complex issues.