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Regional Strategy For Drug Demand Reduction - Situational Analysis

Posted in: Documents | 20 January 2016

The need for information

Ideally, drug demand reduction policy should be based on the results of scientific research. In reality, however, this is rarely the case. In the European Union, for example, drug demand reduction policy has become more rational and more evidencebased during the last few years, at least partly due to the establishment of the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Nowadays, debates on drug policy are less emotional and result in less spur-of-the-moment decisions, which in the long-term will have a positive impact on the effectiveness of interventions.

In the Caribbean, there is great concern about drug use. However, it is difficult to determine to what extent this concern is justified, since it is, in general, not based on factual information. Concerns about drug use might even be a consequence of this lack of knowledge. Drugs are an ideal tool to “explain” many societal problems, such as crime, poverty and insecurity. In many cases, however, it is questionable whether these presumed causal relations are correct. In order to prevent the “misuse” of the drug problem and an unjustifiable “moral panic” it is of utmost importance to have a sound assessment of the drug problem. Not only because knowledge can improve the effectiveness of interventions, but also because policy- relevant knowledge can put things in perspective and can increase the awareness of policymakers of the actual drug problem.