• Recently, the inaugural Global Drug Policy Index was released by the Harm Reduction Consortium.
  • It is a data-driven global analysis of drug policies and their implementation which comes at a time when the Indian government is reviewing the provisions of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic substances act 1985.
  • The Harm Reduction Consortium is a global consortium of networks aiming to challenge the global “war on drugs”, scale up access to harm reduction services, and advocate for increased resources for harm reduction.

Important points:

  • It is a unique tool that documents, measures and compares national-level drug policies.
  • It provides each country with a score and ranking that shows how much their drug policies and their implementation align with the United Nations principles of human rights, health and development.
  • The Index provides an essential accountability and evaluation mechanism in the field of drug policy.
  • It evaluates the performance of 30 countries covering all regions of the world.

Major Findings:

  • The global dominance of drug policies based on repression and punishment has led to low scores overall, with a median score of just 48/100, and the top-ranking country (Norway) only reaching 74/100.
  • Standards and expectations from civil society experts on drug policy implementation vary from country to country.
  • Inequality is deeply seated in global drug policies, with the top-ranking 5 countries scoring 3 times as much as the lowest-ranking 5 countries
  • This is in part due to the colonial legacy of the ‘war on drugs’ approach.
  • Drug policies disproportionately affect people marginalised on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
  • There are wide disparities between state policies and how they are implemented on the ground.
  • With a few exceptions, the meaningful participation of civil society and affected communities in drug policy processes remains severely limited.


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