• People deprived of their liberty for drug offenses: The social costs of drug policy

    New studies reveal increase in incarceration for drug offenses in the Americas
    Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (CEDD)
    November 2015

    The Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho, CEDD) released a series of new studies showing that despite the current debate in Latin America on the need to rethink drug policy, mass incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses has increased across the region. The five thematic reports analyze the gap between discourse and reality, the criminalization of consumption, alternatives to incarceration, women imprisoned for drug offenses, and minors imprisoned for drugs in Latin America.

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  • Improving global drug policy: Comparative perspectives and UNGASS 2016

    Vanda Felbab-Brown and Harold Trinkunas (eds)
    Brookings Institute
    April 2015

    As the world prepares for the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), an increasing number of countries around the world now find the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. In this moment of global disagreement, the Brookings project on Improving Global Drug Policy provides a unique comparative evaluation of the effectiveness and costs of international counternarcotics policies and best approaches to reform.

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  • Despite U.N. treaties, war against drugs a losing battle

    Less than eight per cent of drug users worldwide have access to a clean syringe programme
    IPS
    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    As the call for the decriminalisation of drugs steadily picks up steam worldwide, a new study by the London-based charity Health Poverty Action concludes there has been no significant reduction in the global use of illicit drugs since the creation of three key U.N. anti-drug conventions, the first of which came into force over half a century ago. “Illicit drugs are now purer, cheaper, and more widely used than ever,” says the report, titled Casualties of War: How the War on Drugs is Harming the World’s Poorest.

  • Does tougher enforcement make drugs more expensive?

    Harold A. Pollack & Peter Reuter
    Addiction, 109: 1959–1966. doi: 10.1111/add.12497
    December 2014

    Although the fact of prohibition itself raises prices far above those likely to pertain in legal markets, there is little evidence that raising the risk of arrest, incarceration or seizure at different levels of the distribution system will raise prices at the targeted level, let alone retail prices. The number of studies available is small; they use a great variety of outcome and input measures and they all face substantial conceptual and empirical problems. Given the high human and economic costs of stringent enforcement measures, particularly incarceration, the lack of evidence that tougher enforcement raises prices call into question the value, at the margin, of stringent supply-side enforcement policies in high-enforcement nations.

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  • Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work

    Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP)
    September 2014

    The upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016 is an unprecedented opportunity to review and re-direct national drug control policies and the future of the global drug control regime. As diplomats sit down to rethink international and domestic drug policy, they would do well to recall the mandate of the United Nations, not least to ensure security, human rights and development.

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  • Ending the Drug Wars

    Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy
    John Collins (ed.)
    LSE Ideas
    May 2014

    The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy was convened to produce the most thorough independent economic analysis of the current international drug control strateg ever conducted. It aims to use this analysis to design a successor strategy to the failed global war on drugs. In so doing it will provide the academic underpinnings for a new international paradigm that promotes human security, public health and sustainable development.

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  • Breaking the taboo about drugs

    In an open letter, former Latin American leaders call for legal regulation to help undermine organised crime
    Global Commission on Drug Policy
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, May 18, 2013

    After more than four decades of a failed war on drugs, calls for a change in strategy are growing louder by the day. In Latin America, the debate is positively deafening. Statesmen from Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay are taking the lead for transformations in their own drug regime, which has set a strong dynamic of change across the region and around the world. Their discussion has expanded to the US, where public opinion toward regulation is also changing. (See also: Western leaders study 'gamechanging' report on global drugs trade)

  • The unintended negative consequences of the 'war on drugs'

    Mass criminalisation and punitive sentencing policies
    Penal Reform International (PRI)
    March 2013

    Criminalisation of drug users, excessive levels of imprisonment, and punitive sentencing practices, including mandatory sentencing, the death penalty and enforced ‘drug detention centres’, are some of the unintended negative consequences of the 50 year ‘war on drugs’, a policy with direct impact on the vulnerable, poor and socially excluded groups, including ethnic minorities and women. This PRI briefing paper discusses these consequences in detail and sets out what parliamentarians can do about it.

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  • The Northern Triangle’s drugs-violence nexus

    The role of the drugs trade in criminal violence and policy responses in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
    Liza Ten Velde
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Papers Nr 19
    November 2012

    Mexico has occupied the limelight when it comes to media attention focusing on drug-related violence in Latin America. However, it is actually Central America's Northern Triangle – consisting of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – currently experiencing much higher rates of violence and increasing Drug Trafficking Organization (DTOs) activity, thus providing an illustration of the 'balloon effect' previously experienced by Mexico itself after the implementation of Plan Colombia which was conceived at the end of the 90's. Together the countries of the Northern Triangle now form one of the most violent regions on earth.

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  • A breakthrough in the making?

    Shifts in the Latin American drug policy debate
    Amira Armenta Pien Metaal Martin Jelsma
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 21
    June 2012

    Remarkable drug policy developments are taking place in Latin America. This is not only at the level of political debate, but is also reflected in actual legislative changes in a number of countries. All in all there is an undeniable regional trend of moving away from the ‘war on drugs’. This briefing ex­plains the background to the opening of the drug policy debate in the region, summa­rises the most relevant aspects of the on­going drug law reforms in some countries, and makes a series of recommendations that could help to move the debate forward in a productive manner.

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