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Measurement Matters: Designing New Metrics for a Drug Policy That Works

Supporters of progressive drug policy are committed to using scientific evidence as the basis for informed public debate and policy-making. This is more radical proposal than it first appears. It requires a fundamental shift in how governments and societies think about monitoring and measuring production, trafficking and consumption. To help advance this thinking, the following Strategic Paper proposes a new set of generic goals, targets and indicators to track the intended and unintended consequences of drug policy. Based on dozens of interviews with the world’s top experts, it offers an innovative framework to align drug policy metrics with improvements in public health, safety and citizen security. The paper introduces 2 high level impacts, 6 goals, 16 targets and 86 indicators and subjects them to a preliminary reality check in Colombia. While there are challenges related to data availability and access, there are also tremendous opportunities to rethink old paradigms and design new approaches to designing, implementing and monitoring drug policy that works.