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Back | Programme Area: The Social Effects of Globalization

Illicit Drugs: Social Impacts and Policy Responses



This paper examines the social consequences of illicit drug production, trafficking and consumption, as well as the factors contributing to the global drug problem. In the light of this analysis, it considers the potential and limitations of the various possible policy responses—both those strategies already attempted and those that have as yet only been proposed. The enormous profits to be made in the drug industry have contributed to the failure of most supply-suppression measures, while legal sanctions against drug consumers typically fail to curb drug use among sections of the population where the problem is most severe. More promising approaches involve longer term and more indirect strategies based on education and treatment in consuming countries, and rural development in producing countries. Decriminalization has the potential to reduce the crime associated with the drug trade by reducing its profits; this option should be studied further.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Nov 1994
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1022-8780
    From: UNRISD