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The Global Drug Policy Index 2021

Recreational drugs Drug use Health
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The Global Drug Policy Index 2021 16.94 MB

This report provides an overview of key trends, commonalities and differences in drug policies and their implementation in 30 countries, reviewing data from 2020. The report starts with a global review of the Index results, assessing data on each of the 5 dimensions in turn, and then provides a visual snapshot of the results for each of the 30 countries.

Key findings:

  1. 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.
  2. Standards and expectations from civil society experts on drug policy implementation vary from country to country.
  3. 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.
  4. Drug policies are inherently complex: a country’s performance in the Index can only be fully understood by looking across and within each of the dimensions.
  5. Drug policies disproportionately affect people marginalised on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
  6. There are wide disparities between state policies and how they are implemented on the ground.
  7. With a few exceptions, the meaningful participation of civil society and affected communities in drug policy processes remains severely limited.


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