Information about the Observatory

GDPO LogoNational and international drug policies and programmes that privilege  harsh law enforcement and punishment in an effort to eliminate the cultivation, production, trade and use of controlled substances – what has become known as the ‘war on drugs’ – are coming under increased scrutiny. The Global Drug Policy Observatory aims to promote evidence and human rights based drug policy through the comprehensive and rigorous reporting, monitoring and analysis of policy developments at national and international levels. Acting as a platform from which to reach out to and engage with broad and diverse audiences, the initiative aims to help improve the sophistication and horizons of the current policy debate among the media and elite opinion formers as well as within law enforcement and policy making communities. The Observatory engages in a range of research activities that explore not only the dynamics and implications of existing and emerging policy issues, but also the processes behind policy shifts at various levels of governance.

GDPO Quarterly News: July 2016 – October 2016

In July the GDPO team were delighted to learn that, having put in a solid performance in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition earlier in the year, Martin had won a prize in the University’s Research as Art competition with his entry, ‘Virtual Drug Deal in Server Alley’. With academic events picking up again after some downtime in August, during which GDPO research informed a piece in the Manila Times, September saw Axel participate in a roundtable, ‘New Drugs and the “bigger picture”’ as part of the New Drugs mini-conference at the University of Kent. A few days later, Julia led on the provision of a four-day professional development course at CEU, ‘Drug Policy Reform After UNGASS: Prospects, Proposals Constraints’. Representing another highly successful offering from CEU, teaching faculty comprised Julia, Judith Aldridge (University of Manchester), Joanne Csete (Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University, Niamh Eastwood (Executive Director, Release) and Luciana Pol (Senior Fellow, Centre for Legal and Social Studies) and included participants from 20 countries and a wide-range of backgrounds.

 To read more, and to see previous quarterly news reports, click here

Our Projects

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Featured Publications

Featured Publications

Internet-Facilitated Drugs Trade

An analysis of the size, scope, and the role of the Netherlands

Judith Aldridge et al., RAND Corporation, 2016

Today, there are around 50 so-called cryptomarkets and vendor shops where anonymous sellers and buyers find each other to trade illegal drugs, new psychoactive substances, prescription drugs and other goods and services. But it is not just the obscure parts of the Internet where drugs are on offer. There are numerous web shops, easily found by search engines, which offer new psychoactive substances, often labelled as 'research chemicals'.

The Netherlands occupies a crucial position in European illicit drug markets. Data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction suggested it is the main producer of MDMA, ecstasy and herbal cannabis and a key distribution hub for cannabis resin and cocaine. Whether the pivotal role of the Netherlands also extends online, has yet been unclear...

See the complete report Internet Facilitated Drugs Trade - Netherlands

GDPO Situation Analysis

The GDPO Situation Analysis provides the diversity of stakeholders within the drug policy arena with concise, cutting edge assessment of key topics, enabling informed engagement with pertinent developments and debates. Presented in a focused and standardised format, the SA flags risks, opportunities and future trends in crucial issue areas, delivering to readers actionable information and evidence based insight.

Click here to read all our Situation Analysis