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.

Our Projects

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Featured Publications

Featured Publications

Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties 




Brookings, October 2014

To avoid a damaging collision between international law and changing domestic and international consensus on marijuana policy, the United States should seriously consider narrowly crafted treaty changes. It and other drug treaty partners should begin now to discuss options for substantive alterations that create space within international law for conditional legalization and for other policy experimentation that seeks to further the treaties’ ultimate aims of promoting human health and welfare.

Full Report

GDPO Quarterly News- Jan-April 2014

January saw both Dave and Julia contribute to a short course on Drug Policy and Human Rights run by the Legal Studies Department at the CentralEuropeanUniversity in Budapest.  Later that month Dave was also involved in a seminar at the House of Lords run by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drug Policy Reform; a Group with which he is associated as technical advisor on international drug policy.  Directly following the House of Lords event, Dave was an invited participant at a Transnational Institute (TNI) informal Drug Policy Dialogue in Athens.  Co-hosted by the NGO Diogenis and the Greek government this focussed on policy discussion at the UN. In February, Dave contributed to a short course on Human Rights and Drug Policy run by the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy and the Department of Law at the University of Essex and, as part of Swansea University’s festival of research, the GDPO hosted a documentary screening of Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure a Profits.  This was followed by a lively panel discussion, ‘The Dilemmas of Drug Policy: Global to Local’.  Ably chaired by Julia, in addition to Dave, panellists included Mike Trace (Chief Executive of RAPT and Chairman of the International Drug Policy Consortium), Ifor Glyn (Chief Executive of SANDS Cymru) and Baroness Molly Meacher (Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform since 2011).


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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