Ending the Drug Wars

Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy
06 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.

A major rethink of international drug policies is under way. The failure of the UN to achieve its goal of ‘a drug free world’ and the continuation of enormous collateral damage from excessively militarised and enforcement-led drug policies, has led to growing calls for an end to the ‘war on drugs’.

For decades the UN-centred drug control system has sought to enforce a uniform set of prohibitionist oriented policies often at the expense of other, arguably more effective policies that incorporate broad frameworks of public health and illicit market management.

Now the consensus that underpinned this system is breaking apart and there is a new trajectory towards accepting global policy pluralism and that different policies will work for different countries and regions. The question, however, remains, how do states work together to improve global drug policies?

This report highlights two approaches. First, drastically reallocating resources away from counterproductive and damaging policies towards proven public health policies. Second, pursuing rigorously monitored policy and regulatory experimentation.

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