• Drug Law Reform: Lessons from the New Zealand Experience

    Sanji Gunasekara
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 8
    August 2010

    In 2007, the Government of New Zealand entrusted an independent agency, the National Law Commission, to review the country’s drug law. The Commission will  present a final report which is likely to feature a new approach to personal pos­session and use of drugs placing less emphasis on conviction and punish­ment and more on the delivery of effective treat­­ment. New Zealand’s approach to drug law reform may provide les­sons for other countries.

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  • A Matter of Substance

    Fighting Drug Trafficking With a Substance–Oriented Approach
    Ernestien Jensema
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 7
    July 2010

    This paper discusses the “substance-oriented approach” Dutch authorities implemented to to scare off potential small-scale cocaine smugglers. The focus was on the drugs, rather than the couriers, and on incapacitating the smuggling route, rather than deterrence by incarceration.

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  • International Counternarcotics Policies

    Do They Reduce Domestic Consumption or Advance other Foreign Policy Goals?
    Adam Isacson
    Statement before the Domestic Policy Subcommittee Oversight and Government Reform Committee
    July 21, 2010

    In Latin America, monitoring U.S. assistance means monitoring U.S. counter-drug programs. We’ve found that in the ten years between 2000 and 2009, the United States gave Latin America and the Caribbean about $20.8 billion in assistance, both military and economic aid. Of that amount, fully $9.9 billion — 48 percent — went through counternarcotics accounts in the State and Defense department budgets. Of the $9.2 billion in military and police aid during this 10-year-period, $7.8 billion — 85 percent — was paid for by counternarcotics programs.

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  • Sentencing for Drug Offences in England and Wales

    Law Reform without Legislative Reform
    Genevieve Harris
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 5
    June 2010

    Sentencing for drug offences in England and Wales has recently undergone a wide-sweeping review and public consultation. The purpose of this report is to examine and evaluate this mechanism for law reform, without the need for legislative reform, and to consider the specific discussion around sentencing for drug offences which it has led to.

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  • Drug Policy Disconnect

    Coletta Youngers
    Foreign Policy in Focus
    May 6, 2010

    The rhetoric has changed. According to new U.S. "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Obama administration doesn't use the term "drug war" because the government shouldn't be waging war against its own citizens.

  • Drug Law Reform in Ecuador

    Building Momentum for a More Effective, Balanced and Realistic Approach
    Sandra Edwards Coletta Youngers
    TNI/WOLA Memo
    May 2010

    In Ecuador, the Correa government’s comprehensive justice sector reform project includes significant changes in drug legislation. The country has one of the most punitive drug laws in the hemisphere. In a perversion of justice, those accused of drug offenses are assumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines ensure excessively long sentences and arrest quotas have led to the imprisonment of growing numbers of those at the lowest end of the drug trafficking trade.

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  • IDPC Drug Policy Guide

    Second edition
    International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    March 2012

    This is the second edition of the IDPC Drug Policy Guide aimed at national government policy makers. This publication is a collaborative effort by a number of members of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and partners, and brings together global evidence and best practices on the design and implementation of drug policies and programmes at national level.

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  • Prohibition, a backwards step

    The personal dose in Colombia
    Diana Esther Guzmán & Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes
    Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 4
    January 2010

    In December 2009, the Congress in Colombia passed a reform to the 1991 Constitution, which considered the possession and consumption of certain quantities of drugs for personal use legal, to enact constitutional prohibition. This briefing shows the changes that this constitutional amendment entails and evaluates the principle potential consequences.

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  • Legislative Innovation in Drug Policy

    Martin Jelsma
    Latin American Initiative on Drugs and Democracy
    November 2009

    This briefing summarizes good practices in legislative reforms around the world, representing steps away from a repressive zero-tolerance model towards a more evidence-based and humane drug policy.

    The examples provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches and their impact on levels of drug use and drugrelated harm to the individual and society. Evidence suggests that legislation lessening criminalization combined with shifting resources from law enforcement and incarceration to prevention, treatment and harm reduction is more effective in reducing drug-related problems.

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  • Assessing US Drug Policy in the Americas

    Time to Revisit Goals and Strategies
    John Walsh
    Statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
    October 15, 2009

    The growing realization that we and our neighbors in the Americas are not well-served by the status quo U.S. policies presents the opportunity to re-examine old premises and modernize our goals and strategies. Better to make real progress in reducing drug-related harms than to persist with policies that have failed to meet their own basic goals even as they have generated immense collateral damage.


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