Getting high on impact: The challenge of evaluating drug policy

Published on 1 June 2014

Public policies to control and, ultimately, eliminate the non-licensed supply of, and demand for, plant-based and synthetic psychoactive substances, commonly referred to as ‘illicit drugs’, such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis and methamphetamines, are heavily contested – and so is the evaluation of their impact.

National and international strategies to tackle the production, trade and use of drugs stem from a prohibition-oriented UN-sanctioned and administered international drug control regime established in the early post-World War II years. The great majority of the world’s states are signatories to the regime’s three core conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988.

Yet both the regime and drug control policies have consistently been met with criticism from an increasing number of reform advocates. Today the critics not only include drug policy reform campaigners, academics and health, educational and social care professionals but also heads of state (both former and in office), business tycoons and other personalities from across the globe who believe that the ‘war on drugs’ is a lost cause that results in more harm than it does good.

Publication details

Schultze-Kraft, M. and Befani, B.


About this publication

Related content