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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Consensus: The war on drugs is a failure

CAMH Senior Scientists Claire de Oliveira and Benedikt Fischer weigh in on the newly released London School of Economics report: Ending the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy (pdf).

Authors of the report contend that current international policies need a drastic rethink, and call for reallocating funding away from law enforcement and damaging policies, towards evidence-based public health policies, harm reduction and treatment.

“The advocates of prohibition had about a century to prove that their approach is actually effective and we’re still waiting for the positive evidence," says Dr. Fischer. “I think it’s fair game to now say, look let’s give some alternative approaches a chance and on an evidence base, not based on ideology."

The report authors would like to see countries experiment with drug regulations, to see which policies are effective, and which are not.

Dr. de Oliveira, a health economist, agrees with the Nobel prize-winning authors, that a new direction is needed to tackle drug policy reform.

“This is also the type of approach I take in my work and when proposing any policy recommendation – to implement policies that have been shown to work and that are based on rigorous, scientific evidence,” she says.

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