EHRN and IDPC started developing an instrument for Drug Policy Impact Assessment that would help countries assess overall progress in implementing drug policies in terms of their impact on public health and safety.

Today, the majority of stakeholders involved in drug policy – legislators, implementers and representatives of affected groups of society – agree that any, even the best intended, drug policy decisions are not very effective or lead to negative ‘side effects, in most cases – both.

Attempts to decrease availability of opioids for medical use (primarily intended to protect people from being exposed to drugs with a high addictive potential) have led to issues with pain management and violations of rights of people who need palliative care, as well as limited access to opioid substitution treatment.

Law enforcement actions aimed to arrest ‘drug mafia’ often leads to imprisonment of drug users, on the one hand, and wide-spread corruption on the other hand. A reasonable objective to protect children and adolescents from drugs sometimes results in drug testing in schools and expulsion of those who use drugs, while drugs do not become less available. Effective drug prevention campaigns are rare because poverty, violence and low access to education rapidly bring their results to nothing.

Given the complexity of social phenomenon of drug use and conflicting interests of stakeholder groups, would it not make sense that policy-makers have full information about intended and unintended effects of past decisions in drug policy and instruments to predict the impact of new reforms on social, health and safety spheres? Would it be easier to learn from the World’s best practices if we had evidence that a certain policy has in overall a better impact than others?

In recent years, there have been a number of attempts to develop drug policy impact assessment methodologies, but until now thy have not been implemented on international level. Learn more about the results of literature review. At the same time, the resolution adopted by UN Special Session on the World Drug Problem of 2016 supports the idea of involving the civil society and the scientific community into the evaluation of drug control policies and programs.

"We  recognize  that  civil  society,  as  well  as  the  scientific  community  and academia,  plays an  important  role  in  addressing  and  countering  the  world  drug problem,  and  note  that  affected  populations  and  representatives  of  civil  society entities,  where  appropriate,  should  be  enabled  to  play  a  participatory  role  in  the formulation,  implementation,  and  the  providing  of  relevant  scientific  evidence  in support of, as appropriate, the evaluation of drug control policies and programmes, and we recognize the importance of cooperation with the private sector in this regard," — from the UNGASS resolution

In the beginning of 2017, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) started developing an instrument for Drug Policy Impact Assessment that would help countries assess overall progress in implementing drug policies in terms of their impact on public health and safety. The methodology of Drug Policy Impact Assessment is being developed in close collaboration with representative of state and community sectors. In the second half of 2017, the Drug Policy Impact Assessment methodology will be tested in the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and then promoted among other EU states and beyond. EHRN, IDPC and civil society groups from the Baltic States will work with member states to table a resolution on the need of international cooperation for Drug Policy Impact Assessment at the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (2018).

What we plan to do: When:                                                                                                        

Literature review

March 2017
Dialogue with state and society actors

March 17, 2017, EHRN and IDPC side event at the CND

April 6, 2017

Session at the CEECA Regional Harm Reduction Conference

Development of list of indicators and methods of data collection and analysis April – June 2017
Testing the model in the  Baltic States July – December 2017
Promotion of  the resolution on Drug Policy Impact Assessment to be adopted by the 61st CND session

First  Intersessional Meeting, autumn 2017

61st Session of the CND, March 2018

How to get involved:

Join us at a side event during the 60th Session of CND 

Provide your feedback to the literature review and  draft methodology by writing to dasha@harm-reduction.org

Follow us on FB and twitter; Sign up to EHRN’s listserv

Co-funded by the European Union.