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A multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for evaluating and appraising government policy responses to non medical heroin use

Rolles, Steve, Schlag, Anne Katrin, Measham, Fiona, Phillips, Lawrence, Nutt, David, Bergsvik, Daniel and Rogeberg, Ole (2021) A multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for evaluating and appraising government policy responses to non medical heroin use. International Journal of Drug Policy. ISSN 0955-3959

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103180

Abstract

Globally, non-medical heroin use is generating significant public health and social harms, and drug policy about heroin is a controversial field that encompasses many complex issues. Policy responses to illegal heroin markets have varied from militarized eradication of the opium poppy and harsh punishment of users, to more tolerant harm reduction approaches with decriminalized possession and use. Methods This paper reports the outcomes of a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) on four generic regulatory regimes of heroin: prohibition, decriminalisation, state control and free market. Invited experts on drug harms, addiction, criminology and drug policy developed a comprehensive set of 27 policy outcome criteria against which these drug policy regimes were assessed. Results State control of heroin was identified as the preferred policy option although other policy regimes scored better on specific outcome criteria. The free market model scored better than decriminalisation, with absolute prohibition scoring worst on every criterium. The ranking of the regimes was robust to variations in the criterion-specific weights. Conclusion The implications of these findings for the development of future policy responses to heroin and opioids generally are discussed in detail. Despite increasing overdose deaths and an opioid epidemic in North America, prohibition remains the predominant policy approach to heroin regulation at present. It is hoped that the current paper adds to the discussion of finding a valid regulatory alternative.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/internationa...
Additional Information: © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 12:15
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 03:21
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108974

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