Drug policy

A drug policy is the policy, usually of a government,[1] regarding the control and regulation of drugs considered dangerous, particularly those that are addictive. Governments try to combat drug addiction with policies that address both the demand and supply of drugs, as well as policies that mitigate the harms of drug abuse, and for medical treatment. Demand reduction measures include prohibition, fines for drug offenses, incarceration for persons convicted for drug offenses, treatment (such as voluntary rehabilitation, coercive care,[2] or supply on medical prescription for drug abusers), awareness campaigns, community social services, and support for families. Supply side reduction involves measures such as enacting foreign policy aimed at eradicating the international cultivation of plants used to make drugs and interception of drug trafficking. Policies that help mitigate drug abuse include needle exchange and drug substitution programs, and free facilities for testing a drug's purity.

Drugs subject to control vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, heroin is regulated almost everywhere; substances such as qat, codeine are regulated in some places,[3] but not others.

Most jurisdictions also regulate prescription drugs, medicinal drugs not considered dangerous but that can only be supplied to holders of a medical prescription, and sometimes drugs available without prescription but only from an approved supplier such as a pharmacy, but this is not usually described as a "drug policy".

International treaties

The International Opium Convention, signed in 1912 during the First International Opium Conference, was the first international drug control treaty. It went into force globally in 1919 when it was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. A revised Convention was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series in 1928. It also imposed some restrictions—not total prohibition—on the export of Indian hemp (cannabis sativa forma indica). In 1961 it was superseded by the international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to control global drug trading and use. The Convention banned countries from treating addicts by prescribing illegal substances, allowing only scientific and medical uses of drugs. It did not detail precise drug laws and was not itself binding on countries, which had to pass their own legislation in conformance with the principles of the Convention.[4]

Drug policy by country


Australian drug laws are criminal laws and mostly exist at the state and territory level, not the federal, and are therefore different, which means an analysis of trends and laws for Australia is complicated. The federal jurisdiction has enforcement powers over national borders.

In October 2016, Australia legislated for some medicinal use cannabis.[5]


Like Colombia, the Bolivian government signed onto the ATPA in 1991 and called for the forced eradication of the coca plant in the 1990s and early 2000s. Until 2004, the government allowed each residential family to grow 1600m2 of coca crop, enough to provide the family with a monthly minimum wage.[6] In 2005, Bolivia saw another reformist movement. The leader of a coca grower group, Evo Morales, was elected President in 2005. Morales ended any U.S. backed War on Drugs. President Morales opposed the decriminalization of drugs but saw the coca crop as an important piece of indigenous history and a pillar of the community because of the traditional use of chewing coca leaves.[6] In 2009, the Bolivian Constitution backed the legalization and industrialization of coca products.[6]


coca plant

Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States declared War on Drugs in the late 1980s; the Colombian drug lords were widely viewed as the root of the cocaine issue in America. In the 1990s, Colombia was home to the world's two largest drug cartels: the Cali cartel and the Medellín cartel.[7] It became Colombia's priority, as well as the priority of the other countries in the Andean Region, to extinguish the cartels and drug trafficking from the region. In 1999, under President Andrés Pastrana, Colombia passed Plan Colombia. Plan Colombia funded the Andean Region's fight against the drug cartels and drug trafficking. With the implementation of Plan Colombia, the Colombian government aimed to destroy the coca crop. This prohibitionist regime has had controversial results, especially on human rights. Colombia has seen a significant decrease in coca cultivation. In 2001, there were 362,000 acres of coca crop in Colombia; by 2011, fewer than 130,000 acres remained.[7] However, farmers who cultivated the coca crop for uses other than for the creation of cocaine, such as the traditional use of chewing coca leaves, became impoverished.[7]

Since 1994, consumption of drugs has been decriminalized. However, possession and trafficking of drugs are still illegal. In 2014, Colombia further eased its prohibitionist stance on the coca crop by ceasing aerial fumigation of the coca crop and creating programs for addicts.[7] President Juan Manuel Santos (2010–present), has called for the revision of Latin American drug policy, and is open to talks about legalization.[7]


Narco submarine seized in Ecuador

In the mid-1980s, under President León Febres-Cordero, Ecuador adopted the prohibitionist drug policy recommended by the United States. By cooperating with the United States, Ecuador received tariff exemptions from the United States. In February 1990, the United States held the Cartagena Drug Summit, in the hopes of continuing progress on the War on Drugs. Three of the four countries in the Andean Region were invited to the Summit: Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, with the notable absence of Ecuador. Two of those three countries—Colombia and Bolivia—joined the Andean Trade Preference Act, later called the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, in 1992. Ecuador, along with Peru, would eventually join the ATPA in 1993. The Act united the region in the War on Drugs as well as stimulated their economies with tariff exemptions.

In 1991, President Rodrigo Borja Cevallos passed Law 108, a law that decriminalized drug use, while continuing to prosecute drug possession. In reality, Law 108 set a trap that snared many citizens. Citizens confused the legality of use with the illegality of carrying drugs on their person. This led to a large increase in prison populations, as 100% of drug crimes were processed.[8] In 2007, 18,000 prisoners were kept in a prison built to hold up to 7,000.[9] In urban regions of Ecuador as many as 45% of male inmates were serving time for drug charges; this prison demographic rises to 80% of female inmates.[9] In 2008, under Ecuador's new Constitution, current prisoners serving time were allowed the "smuggler pardon" if they were prosecuted for purchasing or carrying up to 2 kg of any drug, and they already served 10% of their sentence. Later, in 2009, Law 108 was replaced by the Organic Penal Code (COIP). The COIP contains many of the same rules and regulations as Law 108, but it established clear distinctions among large, medium and small drug traffickers, as well as between the mafia and rural growers, and prosecutes accordingly.[9] In 2013, the Ecuadorian government left the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act.


Compared with other EU countries, Germany's drug policy is considered progressive, but still stricter than, for example, the Netherlands. In 1994 the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that drug addiction was not a crime, nor was the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. In 2000, Germany changed the narcotic law ("BtmG") to allow supervised drug injection rooms. In 2002, they started a pilot study in seven German cities to evaluate the effects of heroin-assisted treatment on addicts, compared to methadone-assisted treatment. The positive results of the study led to the inclusion of heroin-assisted treatment into the services of the mandatory health insurance in 2009.


Liberia prohibits drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. Its drug laws are enforced by the Drug Enforcement Agency.[10]


Drug policy in the Netherlands is based on two principles: that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue, and that there is a distinction between hard and soft drugs. The Netherlands is currently the only country to have implemented a wide scale, but still regulated, decriminalisation of marijuana. It was also one of the first countries to introduce heroin-assisted treatment and safe injection sites.[11] From 2008, a number of town councils have closed many so called coffee shops that sold cannabis or implemented other new restrictions for sale of cannabis, e.g. for foreigners.[12][13]

Importing and exporting of any classified drug is a serious offence. The penalty can run up to 12 to 16 years if it is for hard drugs, or a maximum of 4 years for importing or exporting large quantities of cannabis. Investment in treatment and prevention of drug addiction is high when compared to the rest of the world. The Netherlands spends significantly more per capita than all other countries in the EU on drug law enforcement. 75% of drug-related public spending is on law enforcement. Drug use remains at average Western European levels and slightly lower than in English speaking countries.


According to article 8 of the Constitution of Peru, the state is responsible for battling and punishing drug trafficking. Likewise, it regulates the use of intoxicants. Consumption of drugs is not penalized and possession is allowed for small quantities only. Production and distribution of drugs are illegal.

In 1993, Peru, along with Ecuador, signed the Andean Trade Preference Agreement with the United States, later replaced with the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act.[14] Bolivia and Colombia had already signed the ATPA in 1991, and began enjoying its benefits in 1992.[14] By agreeing to the terms of this Agreement, these countries worked in concert with the United States to fight drug trafficking and production at the source. The Act aimed to substitute the production of the coca plant with other agricultural products. In return for their efforts towards eradication of the coca plant, the countries were granted U.S. tariff exemptions on certain products, such as certain types of fruit. Peru ceased complying with the ATPA in 2012, and lost all tariff exemptions previously granted by the United States through the ATPA.[14] By the end of 2012, Peru overtook Colombia as the world's largest cultivator of the coca plant.[15]


In July 2001, a law maintained the status of illegality for using or possessing any drug for personal use without authorization. The offense was however changed from a criminal one, with prison a possible punishment, to an administrative one if the possessing was no more than up to ten days' supply of that substance.[16] This was in line with the de facto Portuguese drug policy before the reform. Drug addicts were then aggressively targeted with therapy or community service rather than fines or waivers.[17] Even if there are no criminal penalties, these changes did not legalize drug use in Portugal. Possession has remained prohibited by Portuguese law, and criminal penalties are still applied to drug growers, dealers and traffickers.[18]


Drugs became popular in Russia among soldiers and the homeless, particularly due to the First World War. This included morphine-based drugs and cocaine, which were readily available. The government under Tsar Nicholas II of Russia had outlawed alcohol in 1914 (including vodka) as a temporary measure until the conclusion of the War. Following the Russian Revolution and in particular the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious as the new political power in Russia. The Soviet Union inherited a population with widespread drug addiction, and in the 1920s, tried to tackle it by introducing a 10-year prison sentence for drug-dealers. The Bolsheviks also decided in August 1924 to re-introduce the sale of vodka, which, being more readily available, led to a drop in drug-use.[19]


Sweden's drug policy has gradually turned from lenient in the 1960s with an emphasis on drug supply towards a policy of zero tolerance against all illicit drug use (including cannabis). The official aim is a drug-free society. Drug use became a punishable crime in 1988. Personal use does not result in jail time if not combined with driving a car.[20] Prevention includes widespread drug testing, and penalties range from fines for minor drug offenses up to a 10-year prison sentence for aggravated offenses. The condition for suspended sentences could be regular drug tests or submission to rehabilitation treatment. Drug treatment is free of charge and provided through the health care system and the municipal social services. Drug use that threatens the health and development of minors could force them into mandatory treatment if they don't apply voluntarily. If the use threatens the immediate health or the security of others (such as a child of an addict) the same could apply to adults.

Among 9th year students, drug experimentation was highest in the early 1970s, falling towards a low in the late 1980s, redoubling in the 1990s to stabilize and slowly decline in 2000s. Estimates of heavy drug addicts have risen from 6000 in 1967 to 15000 in 1979, 19000 in 1992 and 26000 in 1998. According to inpatient data, there were 28000 such addicts in 2001 and 26000 in 2004, but these last two figures may represent the recent trend in Sweden towards out-patient treatment of drug addicts rather than an actual decline in drug addictions.[21]

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that Sweden has one of the lowest drug use rates in the Western world, and attributes this to a drug policy that invests heavily in prevention and treatment as well as strict law enforcement.[22] The general drug policy is supported by all political parties and, according to opinion polls made in the mid 2000s, the restrictive approach received broad support from the public at that time.[23][24]


The national drug policy of Switzerland was developed in the early 1990s and comprises the four elements of prevention, therapy, harm reduction and prohibition.[25] In 1994 Switzerland was one of the first countries to try heroin-assisted treatment and other harm reduction measures like supervised injection rooms. In 2008 a popular initiative by the right wing Swiss People's Party aimed at ending the heroin program was rejected by more than two thirds of the voters. A simultaneous initiative aimed at legalizing marijuana was rejected at the same ballot.

Between 1987 and 1992, illegal drug use and sales were permitted in Platzspitz park, Zurich, in an attempt to counter the growing heroin problem. However, as the situation grew increasingly out of control, authorities were forced to close the park.


Thailand has a strict drug policy. Control of narcotic substances is carried out in accordance with the Law on Combating Drugs of 1979. The use, storage, transportation and distribution of drugs is illegal. The maximum penalty for the distribution or possession of drugs is the death penalty. According to Thai law, drugs are divided into 5 categories[26]:

I - heroin, amphetamines, methamphetamines.

II - morphine, cocaine, ketamine, codeine, opium and opium medicinal, methadone.

III - drugs that legally contain category II ingredients.

IV - chemicals used to make categories I and II drugs, such as anhydride and acetyl chloride.

V - cannabis, plant Kratom, a hallucinogenic fungus.

It is also illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes per person to Thailand. Control takes place at customs at the airport. If the limit has been exceeded, the owner can be fined up to ten times the cost of cigarettes.

In January 2018, Thai authorities imposed a ban on smoking on beaches in some tourist areas. Those who smoke in public places can be punished with a fine of 100,000 Baht or imprisonment for up to one year. It is forbidden to import electronic cigarettes into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated, and you can be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years. The sale or supply of electronic cigarettes and similar devices is also prohibited and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years.[27]

It is worth noting that most people arrested for possessing a small amount of substances from the V-th category are fined and not imprisoned. At present, in Thailand, the anti-drug police are considering methamphetamines as a more serious and dangerous problem.[28]


Crimes in the sphere of trafficking in narcotic, psychotropic substances and crimes against health are classified using the 13th section of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; articles from 305 to 327.[29]

According to official statistics for 2016, 53% of crimes in the field of drugs fall on art. 309 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: "illegal production, manufacture, acquisition, storage, transportation or shipment of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues without the purpose of sale".

Sentence for crime[30] :

  • fine of fifty to one hundred non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens;
  • or correctional labor for up to two years;
  • or arrest for up to six months, or restriction of liberty for up to three years;
  • or imprisonment for the same term.

On August 28, 2013, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a strategy for state policy on drugs until 2020. This is the first document of this kind in Ukraine. The strategy developed by the State Drug Control Service, involves strengthening criminal liability for distributing large amounts of drugs, and easing the penalty for possession of small doses. Thanks to this strategy, it is planned to reduce the number of injecting drug users by 20% by 2020, and the number of drug overdose deaths by 30%.[31]

In October 2018, the State Service of Ukraine on Drugs and Drug Control issued the first license for the import and re-export of raw materials and products derived from cannabis. The corresponding licenses were obtained by the USA company C21. She is also in the process of applying for additional licenses, including the cultivation of hemp.

United Kingdom

Drugs considered addictive or dangerous in the United Kingdom (with the exception of tobacco and alcohol) are called "controlled substances" and regulated by law. Until 1964 the medical treatment of dependent drug users was separated from the punishment of unregulated use and supply. This arrangement was confirmed by the Rolleston Committee in 1926. This policy on drugs, known as the "British system", was maintained in Britain, and nowhere else, until the 1960s. Under this policy drug use remained low; there was relatively little recreational use and few dependent users, who were prescribed drugs by their doctors as part of their treatment. From 1964 drug use was increasingly criminalised, with the framework still in place as of 2014 largely determined by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.[32]:13–14

United States

Modern US drug policy still has roots in the war on drugs started by president Richard Nixon in 1971. In the United States, illegal drugs fall into different categories and punishment for possession and dealing varies on amount and type. Punishment for marijuana possession is light in most states, but punishment for dealing and possession of hard drugs can be severe, and has contributed to the growth of the prison population.

US drug policy is also heavily invested in foreign policy, supporting military and paramilitary actions in South America, Central Asia, and other places to eradicate the growth of coca and opium. In Colombia, U.S. president Bill Clinton dispatched military and paramilitary personnel to interdict the planting of coca, as a part of the Plan Colombia. The project is often criticized for its ineffectiveness and its negative impact on local farmers. President George W. Bush intensified anti-drug efforts in Mexico, initiating the Mérida Initiative, but has faced criticisms for similar reasons.

May 21, 2012 the U.S Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy[33] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different than "War on Drugs":

  • The U.S Government see the policy as a “third way” approach to drug control one that is based on the results of a huge investment in research from some of the world’s preeminent scholars on disease of substance abuse.
  • The policy does not see drug legalization as the “silver bullet” solution to drug control.
  • It is not a policy where success is measured by the number of arrests made or prisons built.[34]

The U.S. government generates grants to develop and disseminate evidence based addiction treatments.[35] These grants have developed several practices that NIDA endorses, such as community reinforcement approach and community reinforcement and family training approach,[36] which are behavior therapy interventions.

See also


  1. ^ Entities at all levels, from international organisations, national governments, local government departments, down to individual night clubs, may have stated drug policies.
  2. ^ Tännsjö, T. (1999). Coercive Care.
  3. ^ "Banned Drugs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (codeine and Tamiflu are included)". Archived from the original on 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  4. ^ BBC: The UK's Misuse of Drugs Act (1971), 19 February 2009
  5. ^ Timms, Penny (28 October 2016). "Medicinal marijuana to become legal to grow in Australia — but how will it work?". ABC News. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Grisaffi, Thomas (2016). Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas. Springer International Publishing. pp. 149–166. ISBN 978-3-319-29080-5.
  7. ^ a b c d e Uprimny, Rodrigo; Esther Guzmán, Diana (2016). Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas. Springer International Publishing. pp. 87–103. ISBN 978-3-319-29082-9.
  8. ^ Isabel Jácome, Ana; Alvarez Velasco, Carla (2016). Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas. Springer International Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-3-319-29080-5.
  9. ^ a b c Youngers, Coletta (Sumer 2014). "Ecuador's Pardon Laws". NACLA. Retrieved 19 April 2017. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ DEA Destroys Over LD$10 Million Drugs, AllAfrica, 2011-10-04. Accessed 2012-06-03.
  11. ^ Fischer B, Oviedo-Joekes E, Blanken P, et al. (July 2007). "Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) a decade later: a brief update on science and politics". J Urban Health. 84 (4): 552–62. doi:10.1007/s11524-007-9198-y. PMC 2219559. PMID 17562183.
  12. ^ AFP: Dutch towns close coffee shops in 'drug tourists' crackdown, Oct 24, 2008
  13. ^ "Selling soft drugs is not a right even in the Netherlands". Archived from the original on 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  14. ^ a b c Ponce, Aldo F. (2016). Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas. Springer International Publishing. pp. 123–148. ISBN 978-3-319-29080-5.
  15. ^ "Peru overtakes Colombia as world's top coca leaf grower". BBC News. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  16. ^ EMCDDA: Drug policy profiles, Portugal, June 2011
  17. ^ "Portugal legalizes drug use". BBC News. 7 July 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/823257.stm. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-26. Retrieved 2011-06-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Flying high: how did revolutionary Russia become drug-addicted". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  20. ^ Lawline: Påföljd vid ringa narkotikabrott, 2007-04-21
  21. ^ CAN:Drug Trends in Sweden 2007, page 7-11
  22. ^ UNODC: Sweden's successful drug policy, 2007
  23. ^ European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction: National report Sweden, 2006 Archived September 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ NATIONAL DRUG POLICY: SWEDEN Prepared for The Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Canada 2002.
  25. ^ Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. "Drug policy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  26. ^ http://thailawforum.com/tourst-guide-laws-Thailand-4.html
  27. ^ https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand/local-laws-and-customs
  28. ^ http://www.thailawforum.com/history-of-marijuana-cannabis-thailand.html
  29. ^ https://meget.kiev.ua/kodeks/ugolovniy-kodeks/razdel-1-13/
  30. ^ http://alfa-omega.kh.ua/otvetstvennost-za-upotreblenie-narkotikov/
  31. ^ https://zn.ua/UKRAINE/v-ukraine-vpervye-razrabotana-gosudarstvennaya-strategiya-v-otnoshenii-narkotikov-128148_.html
  32. ^ An Analysis of UK Drug Policy - A Monograph Prepared for the UK Drug Policy Commission, Peter Reuter, University of Maryland, Alex Stevens, University of Kent, April 2007
  33. ^ Principles of Modern Drug Policy Archived 2013-01-31 at the Wayback Machine. Whitehouse.gov.
  34. ^ Statement of the Government of the United States of America World Federation Against Drugs 3rd World Forum, May 21, 2012, Stockholm, Sweden Archived January 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Whitehouse.gov (September 21, 2012).
  35. ^ Milford, J.L. Austin, J.L. and Smith, J.E.(2007). Community Reinforcement and the Dissemination of Evidence-based Practice: Implications for Public Policy. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 3(1), 77-87 BAO
  36. ^ Meyers, R.J., Smith, J.E. & Lash, D.N. (2005): A Program for Engaging Treatment-Refusing Substance Abusers into Treatment: CRAFT. IJBCT, 1(2), Page 90 -100 BAO

External links


Articles and videos

Academic articles

Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is a New York City-based non-profit organization, led by executive director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, with the principal goal of ending the American "War on Drugs". The stated priorities of the organization are the decriminalization of responsible drug use, the promotion of harm reduction and treatment in response to drug misuse, and the facilitation of open dialog about drugs between youth, parents, and educators.

Drug harmfulness

Drug harmfulness is the degree to which a psychoactive drug is harmful to a user and is measured in various ways, such as by addictiveness and the potential for physical harm. More harmful drugs are called "hard drugs", and less harmful drugs are called "soft drugs". The term "soft drug" is considered controversial by its critics as it may imply that soft drugs cause no or insignificant harm.

Drug liberalization

Drug liberalization is the process of eliminating or reducing drug prohibition laws. Variations of drug liberalization include: drug legalization, drug relegalization and drug decriminalization. Whilst many people would argue that decriminalization will only cause an increase in usage, studies from California and Colorado, two states that implemented the policy, found that "decriminalization" of marijuana possession had little or no impact on rates of use, and found that it was effective in reducing drug usage due to better control." Drug liberalization may go hand in hand with or include measures to ensure responsible drug use and some state that its challenge is not in criticizing prohibition, but in designing something better.

Drug policy of California

Drug policy of California refers to the policy on various classes and kinds of drugs in the U.S. state of California. Cannabis possession has been decriminalized and is soon to be legalised following legislation changes, but its cultivation and sale remain criminal offenses, along with the possession, sale, and manufacture of harder drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine. With respect to many controlled substances, terms such as illegal and prohibited do not include their authorized possession or sale as laid out by applicable laws.

On November 4, 2014, voters approved Proposition 47, which, among other things, reduced drug possession for personal use to a misdemeanor (except possession of more than one ounce of marijuana).

Drug policy of Canada

Canada's drug regulations are measures of the Food and Drug Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. In relation to controlled and restricted drug products, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act establishes eight schedules of drugs and new penalties for the possession, trafficking, exportation and production of controlled substances as defined by the Governor-in-Council. Drug policy of Canada has traditionally favoured punishment of the smallest of offenders, but this convention was partially broken in 1996 with the passing of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Drug policy of Germany

The drug policy of Germany is considered to be more lenient than that of many other EU countries but still stricter than that of the Netherlands.

In 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that drug addiction and the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use were not crimes. In 2000, the law on narcotics (Betäubungsmittelgesetz) was changed to allow supervised injection rooms.

In 2002, a pilot project was started in seven German cities to evaluate the effects of heroin-assisted treatment on addicts, compared to methadone-assisted treatment. In 2009, the positive results of the study led to heroin-assisted treatment becoming included in the mandatory health insurance.

Drug policy of Portugal

The drug policy of Portugal was put in place in 2001, and was legally effective from July 2001. The new law maintained the status of illegality for using or possessing any drug for personal use without authorization. However, the offense was changed from a criminal one, with prison a possible punishment, to an administrative one if the amount possessed was no more than a ten-day supply of that substance.In April 2009, the Cato Institute published a White Paper about the "decriminalization" of drugs in Portugal, paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project Data about the heroin usage rates of 13-16-year-olds from EMCDDA were used to claim that "decriminalization" has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates. However, drug-related pathologies - such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage - have decreased dramatically. In 1999, Portugal had the highest rate of HIV amongst injecting drug users in the European Union. The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among drug users has decreased to 13.4 cases per million in 2009 but that is still high above the European average of 2.85 cases per million. There were 2,000 new cases a year, in a country of 10 million people. 45% of HIV reported AIDS cases recorded in 1997 originated among IV drug users, so targeting drug use was seen as an effective avenue of HIV prevention. The number of heroin users was estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000 at the end of the 1990s. This led to the adoption of The National Strategy for the Fight Against Drugs in 1999. A vast expansion of harm reduction efforts, doubling the investment of public funds in drug treatment and drug prevention services, and changing the legal framework dealing with minor drug offenses were the main elements of the policy thrust.

Drug policy of Slovakia

Drug policy of Slovakia is the legislative framework that governs all aspects of legal drugs and illegal drugs on the territory of Slovakia. It was established with the country's creation on 1 January 1993; the Slovak Republic taking over all commitments of the former Czechoslovakia. Both domestic and international law governs the manufacture, sale, transport and use of most drugs. Alcohol is the most used drug in Slovakia, featuring prominently in the Slovak culture. Slovakia consistently ranks among the top alcohol consuming countries in the world.

The majority of legal drugs are distributed through a dense network of private pharmacies. Non-prescription drugs are free to buy, but the majority of legal drugs are available only through a bureaucratic process. All citizens are required by law to pay health insurance; health insurance companies, in turn, pay doctors who prescribe the drugs. Due to the Act on Drugs and Medical Devices from 2011, Slovakia enjoys the second cheapest prescription drugs in the European Union, as of 2012.Slovak illegal drug policy is repressive and often described as "harsh", the law does not differentiate between hard drugs and soft drugs and sentences can in theory be as severe as life imprisonment. In Slovakia, illegal drug policy documents have no associated budgets and there is no review of executed expenditures. The only available data coming from an estimate from 2006 suggests that the expenditure represented 0.05% of GDP, with 63.3% for public order and safety, 14.8% for treatment, 7.6% for prevention, 1.8% for coordination, 1.3% for education, 0.9% for harm reduction and 10.3% for other areas.

Drug policy of Virginia

The U.S. state of Virginia has various policies restricting the production, sale, and use of several defined controlled substance.

Drug policy of the Netherlands

While recreational use, possession and trade of non-medicinal drugs described by the Opium Law are all technically illegal under Dutch law, official policy since the late 20th century has been to openly tolerate all recreational use while tolerating the other two under certain circumstances. This pragmatic approach was motivated by the idea that a drug-free Dutch society is unrealistic and unattainable, and efforts would be better spent trying to minimize harm caused by recreational drug use. As a result of this gedoogbeleid (lit. "tolerance policy" or "policy of tolerance"), the Netherlands is typically seen as much more tolerant of drugs than most other countries.Legal distinctions are made in the Opium Law between drugs with a low risk of harm and/or addiction, called soft drugs, and drugs with a high risk of harm and/or addiction, called hard drugs. Soft drugs include hash, marijuana, sleeping pills and sedatives, while hard drugs include heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, LSD and ecstasy. Policy has been to largely tolerate the sale of soft drugs while strongly suppressing the sale, circulation and use of hard drugs, effectively separating it into two markets. Establishments that have been permitted to sell soft drugs under certain circumstances are called coffee shops. Laws established in January 2013 required visitors of coffee shops to be Dutch residents, but these laws were only applied in Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg after much local criticism. Possession of a soft drug for personal use in quantities below a certain threshold (5 grams of cannabis or 5 cannabis plants) is tolerated, but larger quantities or possession of hard drugs may lead to prosecution. Prosecution for possession, trade and (in some rare cases) use are typically handled by the municipal government except where large-scale criminal activity is suspected.Notably absent from toleration of drugs is its production, particularly the cultivation of cannabis. This has led to a seemingly paradoxical system where coffee shops are allowed to buy and sell soft drugs but where production is nearly always punished. Because coffee shops have to get their goods from somewhere, criticism has been raised over the years against continued prosecution of soft drug producers. It was first challenged in court in 2014 when a judge found two people guilty of producing cannabis in large quantities but refused to punish them. A breakthrough occurred in early 2017, when a slight majority in the House of Representatives allowed for a law to pass that would partly legalize production of cannabis. In late 2017, the newly formed coalition announced that they would seek to implement an experimental new system in certain cities where coffee shops could legally acquire cannabis from a state-appointed producer.While the legalization of cannabis remains controversial, the introduction of heroin-assisted treatment in 1998 has been lauded for considerably improving the health and social situation of opiate-dependent patients in the Netherlands.

Drug policy of the Soviet Union

The drug policy of the Soviet Union changed little throughout the existence of the state, other than slowly becoming more repressive, although some differences in penalties existed in the different Union Republics. Policies were focused on prohibition and criminalisation, rather than more liberal policies such as harm reduction and the rehabilitation of users and addicts.

Drug policy of the United Kingdom

Drugs considered addictive or dangerous in the United Kingdom are called "controlled substances" and regulated by law. Until 1964 the medical treatment of dependent drug users was separated from the punishment of unregulated use and supply. Under this policy drug use remained low; there was relatively little recreational use and few dependent users, who were prescribed drugs by their doctors as part of their treatment. From 1964 drug use was decreasingly criminalised, with the framework still in place as of 2014 largely determined by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Drug policy reform

Drug policy reform, also known as drug law reform, is any proposed changes to the way governments respond to the socio-cultural influence on perception of psychoactive substance use. Proponents of drug policy reform believe that prohibition of drugs—such as cannabis, opioids, cocaine, amphetamines and hallucinogens—has been ineffectual and counterproductive. They argue that, rather than using laws and enforcement as the primary means to responding to substance use, governments and citizens would be better served by reducing harm and regulating the production, marketing, and distribution of currently illegal drugs in a manner similar to (or some would say better than) how alcohol and tobacco are regulated.

Proponents of drug law reform argue that relative harm should be taken into account in the regulation of controlled substances. Addictive drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine have been a traditional part of Western culture for centuries and are legal, when in fact the first two are more harmful than some substances classified under Schedule I. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, rated the hallucinogen psilocybin (Schedule I) less toxic than Aspirin. The Dutch government found this also to be true.The addictive properties of the drug nicotine in tobacco are often compared with heroin or cocaine, but tobacco is legal, even though the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 2002 World Health Report estimates that in developed countries, 26% of male deaths and 9% of female deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking. According to the American Heart Association, "Nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break." The pharmacologic and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Federal drug policy of the United States

Use of heroin peaked between 1969 and 1971, marijuana between 1978 and 1979, and cocaine between 1987 and 1989. A major decline in the use of opium started after the Harrison Act of 1914 was initiated.An overarching effort to impose mandatory penalties for federal drug crimes took place in the 1980s. This caused many drug crimes that were common at the time to carry mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 10 years in a federal prison.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing the growing and use of marijuana for medical purposes. This created significant legal and enforcement conflict between federal and state government laws. Courts have since decided that a state law in conflict with a federal law concerning cannabis is not valid. Cannabis is restricted by federal law (see Gonzales v. Raich). In 2010 California Proposition 19 (also known as the Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act) was defeated with 53.5% 'No' votes, and 46.5% 'Yes' votes.Pursuant to regulations (34 C.F.R. 86) required by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1011i), as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any Federal program, an institution of higher education must certify that it has adopted and implemented a drug prevention program which adheres to regulations in 34 C.F.R. 86.100. It has recently gained renewed attention due to Colorado Amendment 64.

Major League Baseball drug policy

Major League Baseball's drug policy—the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program—was established by agreement between the MLB Players Association and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. The goal was to deter and end the use of banned substances, including anabolic steroids and other illegal drugs, and to "provide for, in keeping with the overall purposes of the Program, an orderly, systematic, and cooperative resolution of any disputes that may arise concerning the existence, interpretation, or application" of the policy itself. The Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program was adopted in the Spring of 2006.

While the Health Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC) can make recommendations to the Office of the Commissioner regarding punishment, it has no power to discipline players for violations of the drug policy, except to place them in the appropriate treatment programs. Such authority belongs to the Office of the Commissioner.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

The Director of National Drug Control Policy, colloquially known as the Drug Czar, heads the office. "Drug Czar" was a term first used in the media by then-Senator Joe Biden in October 1982. In addition to running the ONDCP, the director evaluates, coordinates, and oversees both the international and domestic anti-drug efforts of executive branch agencies and ensures that such efforts sustain and complement State and local anti-drug activities. The Director advises the President regarding changes in the organization, management, budgeting, and personnel of federal agencies that affect U.S. anti-drug efforts; and regarding federal agency compliance with their obligations under the National Drug Control Strategy, an annual report required by law. The most recent director is James. W. Carroll, who took over from former director Michael Botticelli.The Fiscal Year 2011 National Drug Control Budget proposed by the Obama Administration would devote significant new resources to the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. These resources are complemented by an aggressive effort to enhance domestic law enforcement, interdiction, and supply control programs. New resources, $340 million, are added to the prevention and treatment of drug use.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is an international non-profit advocacy and education organization based in Washington D.C. SSDP is focused on reforming drug policy in the United States and internationally. SSDP is the only international network of students dedicated to ending the war on drugs. At its heart, SSDP is a grassroots organization, led by a student-run Board of Directors. SSDP creates change by bringing young people together and creating safe spaces for students of all political and ideological stripes to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policy. Founded in 1998, SSDP comprises thousands of members at hundreds of campuses in countries around the globe.

SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use, and respects the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being. SSDP encourages honest conversation about the realities of the drug war, especially in light of misinformation contained in modern "anti-drug" ad campaigns or school programs. SSDP promotes youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy. SSDP respects the diverse experiences and identities of its constituents and encourages its members to undertake diversity training, some of which SSDP provides itself. Due to its relationship with the problem of mass incarceration, SSDP self-defines as an anti-racist organization.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Transform) is a registered non-profit charity based in the United Kingdom working in the field of drug policy and law reform.

Transform began as an independent campaign group called Transform Drugs Campaign Ltd, and was set up in 1996 by its current Head of External Affairs, Danny Kushlick. The organisation achieved charitable status in 2003 and was renamed 'Transform Drug Policy Foundation' in 2004. In 2007 Transform became the first UK based non-governmental organisation calling for drug law reform, including the legal regulation of drug production supply and use, to be granted special consultative status at the United Nations.

War on drugs

The war on drugs is a campaign, led by the U.S. federal government, of drug prohibition, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade in the United States. The initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by President Richard Nixon—the day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control—during which he declared drug abuse "public enemy number one". That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the "prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted", but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term "war on drugs". However, two years prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a "war on drugs" that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration. Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowske—the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term "War on Drugs", because Kerlikowske considers the term to be "counter-productive". ONDCP's view is that "drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated... making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe".In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed." The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.

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