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Drug Policy Reform

The international community has continuously tried to address the global drug problem with a strategy of criminalized prohibition of production, transport, sale, and consumption of certain illicit substances. This prohibitionist approach is enshrined in a trio of UN multilateral conventions, which have long been read to mandate state-level prohibition of internationally scheduled drugs. Despite a decades-long “war on drugs,” led by military and policy forces from around the globe, the goal of a “drug free world” is no closer now to realization.

Drug Policy in Mexico: The Cause of a National Tragedy—A Radical but Indispensable Proposal to Fix It

The prohibition policy in Mexico has given rise to an enormous human cost in terms of lives. This is in violation of human rights.

The proposal developed by the co-authors in this paper on Mexico’s drug policy contains three main aspects. One is their claim of the unconstitutionality of prohibition as a policy to deal with drugs in light of the right to health as enshrined in the Mexican Constitution. Two is the prevalence of United Nations human rights norms over the international drug conventions, which they purport should be the case. Three is specific models of regulation for the various types of drugs that could fit the Mexican case, for which they provide a sketch.

Read paper here. (PDF — opens in a new page)

We Can’t Go Cold Turkey: Why Suppressing Drug Markets Endangers Society

Policies aimed at suppressing drug use exacerbate the negative effects of a nation’s opioid problem.

Trying to suppress the drug markets is the wrong goal, and in the midst of an addiction crisis, it can be deadly. Read article by Nick Werle and Ernesto Zedillo.

Drug Policy: A Shameful Failure of Modern Civilization

For too long and with far too few exceptions, drug policies have relied fundamentally on prohibition and law enforcement. This approach is wholly inconsistent with the best knowledge from life sciences, sound public health research and economic analysis.

Paradoxically, some of the best knowledge on drug abuse and addiction has been generated by the very same government institutions that have also failed to apply that knowledge to their drug policies. Read article by Ernesto Zedillo here. (PDF — opens in a new page)