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Regulation of illegal drugs – no longer What?, but How?

Emerson, Brian (2019) Regulation of illegal drugs – no longer What?, but How? Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, 1 (3). 251 - 254. ISSN 2516-7227

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Identification Number: 10.31389/jied.19


The debate about the prohibition of drugs has taken a fundamental turn with the publication of ‘Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs’ by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. This edition of the journal publishes papers addressing how to regulate drugs, which informed the Global Commission report. These papers shift the discussion from what must be done, i.e. end prohibition, to how regulation can be implemented. These papers shift the discourse from a ‘drugs are the problem’ paradigm to ‘management of drugs is the problem’. Implications of regulation means: • accepting that people should have controlled access, within a public health framework, to a range of psychoactive substances for non-medical use purposes • highlighting of the incoherence of substance use management policy and regulation between legal and illegal substances • blurring the dichotomy concept of medical and non-medical use • supporting rigorous monitoring, evaluation, and research Consideration of implementing public interest–based regulated drug markets is gaining traction. This will not be without challenges, including pressure from profit-driven interests to weaken the public health orientation. Governments can be capable and competent when provided with technical support to regulate risky products, so should move from rigid adherence to the failed drug prohibition policy to regulation based on public health and human rights principles. This will help refocus on achieving the fundamental aim of the UN drug treaties – promotion of the health and welfare of humankind.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2019 10:33
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 18:03

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