Public Administration and Drug Control Policy

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Public policy formulation, including the policy on drugs, is inherently dependent and responsive to current events. Policies addressing the issues of substance use have varied across time and geography, often changing with alterations to the definition of the problems and the ultimate solutions.[1] Political imperatives, scientific findings, cultural changes, and even international relations are important to the determination of policy direction.[2][3] The champions of evidence-based policy and administration emphasize that the focus on intense evaluation is the basis for cost-effective and functional policies.[4][5]

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Across different nations, modifications to policy have often been in response to current events. Nations of the Middle East and North Africa have been compelled to change their policies to address harm reduction, owing to the prevalence of hepatitis C and HIV transmissions among drug users.[6][7] Portugal also faced the same situation, with it becoming worse following the establishment of Casal Ventoso as an open air drug market, and resorted to decriminalization of drugs.[8] The response to public welfare is an essential component of developing or modifying public policy.[9] Where such responses are absent, the asynchrony will be evident and the potential effectiveness of the policies remains limited.

In the USA, the war on drugs has compelled the revision of policy as perceptions of the scientific field and the public change. Ideologies regarding marijuana use have enabled the legalization of the drug in some states.[10] Inevitably, this process presents challenges to the USA with regards to international policy.[11][12][13] It is possible that the USA will be compelled to revise its future international policies, allowing for the conditional legalization of particular drugs.[14][15] Notably, events unrelated to a policy area may influence administrative decisions. For instance, the demands of the current economy of the USA and reforms after the elections in 2016 have resulted in budget cuts for the war on drugs.[16] The implications of societal events, therefore, manifest in multiple aspects of the formulation of drug policy and ultimately the dedication of resources to its implementation.

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  1. Avey, Paul C, and Michael C. Desch. “What Do Policymakers Want from Us? Results of a Survey of Current and Former Senior National Security Decision Makers.” International Studies Quarterly 58, no. 2 (2014): 227–46.
  2. Bennett, Wells, and John Walsh. Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties. Washington: Washington Office on Latin America, 2014.
  3. Cherney, Adrian, Brian W. Head, Jenny Povey, Michele Ferguson, and Paul Boreham. “Use of Academic Social Research by Public Officials: Exploring Preferences and Constraints that Impact on Research Use.” Evidence & Policy 11, no. 2 (2015): 169–88.
  4. Colins, Nathan. Stanford researchers say U.S. policies on drugs and addiction could use a dose of neuroscience. June 2017. http://news.stanford.edu/2017/06/22/u-s-drug-policy-needs-dose-neuroscience/ (accessed October 6, 2017).
  5. Decorte, T, and G.R. Potter. “The globalisation of cannabis cultivation: A growing challenge.” International Journal of Drug Policy 26 (2015): 221–225.
  6. Drugabuse.net. Drug Policy & History. 2017. http://www.drugabuse.net/drug-policy/ (accessed October 6, 2017).
  7. Frank, Vibeke Asmussen, Bagga Bjerge, and Karen Duke. “Stakeholder influences on drug and alcohol policy processes.” Drugs and Alcohol Today 15, no. 4 (2001).
  8. Greenfiled, V.A., and L Paoli. “If supply-oriented drug policy is broken, can harm reduction help fix it? Melding disciplines and methods to advance international drug-control policy.” International Journal of Drug Policy 23 (2012): 6–15.
  9. Head, Brian. “Toward More “Evidence-Informed” Policy Making?” Public Administration Review 76, no. 3 (2015): 472-84.
  10. Himmich, Hakima, Michel D. Kazatchkine, and Gerry V. Stimson. “Drug policy and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Harm reduction, legal environment and public health.” Drug Policy 31 (2016): 4-5.
  11. Hughes, Caitlin. Overcoming obstacles to reform? Thesis, Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 2006.
  12. Open Society Foundations. Why We Need Drug Policy Reform. July 2013. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/why-we-need-drug-policy-reform (accessed October 6, 2017).
  13. Rauch, Jonathan. Marijuana Legalization Poses a Dilemma for International Drug Treaties. October 2014. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2014/10/16/marijuana-legalization-poses-a-dilemma-for-international-drug-treaties/ (accessed October 6, 2017).
  14. Repperport, Alan. White House Proposes Cutting Drug Control Office Funding by 95%. May 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/us/politics/white-house-proposes-cutting-drug-control-office-funding-by-95.html (accessed October 6, 2017).
  15. WOLA. Advocating for drug policy reform at the UN. January 2015. https://www.wola.org/analysis/advocating-for-drug-policy-reform-at-the-united-nations-2/ (accessed October 6, 2017).
  16. [1] Frank, Vibeke Asmussen, Bagga Bjerge, and Karen Duke. “Stakeholder influences on drug and alcohol policy processes.” Drugs and Alcohol Today 15, no. 4 (2001)
  17. [2] Colins, Nathan. Stanford researchers say U.S. policies on drugs and addiction could use a dose of neuroscience
  18. [3] Frank, Vibeke Asmussen, Bagga Bjerge, and Karen Duke. “Stakeholder influences on drug and alcohol policy processes.” Drugs and Alcohol Today 15, no. 4 (2001)
  19. [4] Cherney, et al. “Use of Academic Social Research by Public Officials: Exploring Preferences and Constraints that Impact on Research Use.” Evidence & Policy 11, no. 2 (2015): 169
  20. [5] Head, Brian. “Toward More “Evidence-Informed” Policy Making?” Public Administration Review 76, no. 3 (2015): 472
  21. [6] Greenfiled, V.A., and L Paoli. “If supply-oriented drug policy is broken, can harm reduction help fix it? Melding disciplines and methods to advance international drug-control policy.” International Journal of Drug Policy 23 (2012): 7
  22. [7] Himmich, Hakima, Michel D. Kazatchkine, and Gerry V. Stimson. “Drug policy and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Harm reduction, legal environment and public health.” Drug Policy 31 (2016): 4
  23. [8] Hughes, Caitlin. Overcoming obstacles to reform? Thesis, Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 2006
  24. [9] Avey, Paul C, and Michael C. Desch. “What Do Policymakers Want from Us? Results of a Survey of Current and Former Senior National Security Decision Makers.” International Studies Quarterly 58, no. 2 (2014): 229
  25. [10] Decorte, T, and G.R. Potter. “The globalisation of cannabis cultivation: A growing challenge.” International Journal of Drug Policy 26 (2015): 225
  26. [11] Open Society Foundations. Why We Need Drug Policy Reform. July 2013.
  27. [12] Drugabuse.net. Drug Policy & History. 2017.
  28. [13] Rauch, Jonathan. Marijuana Legalization Poses a Dilemma for International Drug Treaties. October 2014
  29. [14] Bennett, Wells, and John Walsh. Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties
  30. [15] WOLA. Advocating for drug policy reform at the UN. January 2015
  31. [16] Repperport, Alan. White House Proposes Cutting Drug Control Office Funding by 95%. May 2017
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