Professor David Bewley-Taylor

Professor David Bewley-Taylor
Personal Chair
Political and Cultural Studies
Telephone: (01792) 604291

David is a Professor of International Relations and Public Policy and founding Director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory (2013). He was appointed as a lecturer at Swansea University in 2000 and since then has been visiting faculty at universities in the US (University of Wilmington), Australia (University of Sydney), Hungary (Central European University) and India (Jodhpur National University).

David has been researching aspects of drug policy for over 20 years with his main areas of interest being US drug policy, the UN and international drug policy and more recently counter narcotic strategies in Afghanistan. He has written two major research monographs - The United States and International Drug Control, 1909-1997 (Continuum, 2001) and International Drug Control: Consensus Fractured (Cambridge University Press, 2012) - a number of book chapters and published in a wide range of academic journals. David has given papers in Europe, North American and Australia and is a speaker or invited participant at civil society and government drug policy dialogues, colloquia and symposiums.

David was the founding Secretary of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (2006-7), and is currently on the Editorial Boards of The International Journal of Drug Policy and the International Journal on Human Rights and Drug Policy. He is also a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, (University of Essex), a member of the International Advisory Board of the David F. Musto Center for Drug Policy Studies (Shanghai University), an Associate of the LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project and a technical advisor to the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. David has collaborated with and produced policy reports for a range of drug policy organisations beyond academia and at present is an Associate of the International Drug Policy Consortium and a Research Fellow of the Transnational Institute’s Drugs and Democracy Programme.


  1. Refocusing metrics: can the sustainable development goals help break the ‘metrics trap’ and modernise international drug control policy?. Drugs and Alcohol Today 17(2)
  2. & Access to controlled medicines for anesthesia and surgical care in low-income countries: a narrative review of international drug control systems and policies. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia/Journal canadien d'anesthésie 64(3), 296-307.
  3. & (2016). An overview of recent changes in cocaine trafficking routes into Europe. Background paper commissioned by EMCDDA for 2016 EU Drugs Markets Report.
  4. Legitimacy and modernity via policy transfer: The utility of the 2003 Afghan National Drug Control Strategy. International Journal of Drug Policy 25(5), 1009-1018.
  5. Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime in Afghanistan. The RUSI Journal 158(6), 6-17.

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  • PO-M69 Drug policy and international relations: Power, politics and narco-diplomacy

    An exemplar of a multi-level `intermestic¿ policy issue, since the emergence of `narcotics¿ as a topic of transnational concern, inter-state relations around the control of certain psychoactive substances have been complex, fluid and often apparently contradictory. Drawing on a range of disciplinary approaches, this module will focus on the intersection between drug policy and international relations, broadly defined, to examine how policy formulation and related narco-diplomacy have long been influenced by an intricate range of factors beyond a direct concern for the potential harm associated with `drugs¿ themselves. Through examination of the key actors (state and non-state), institutions (particularly the United Nations) and ideational debates involved, it will explore the history and contemporary dynamics of the development and application of drug policy both within and beyond the nation state. The module will critically assess the utility of different international relations theories that can be deployed to help us better understand the domain of enquiry, as well as examine relevant international legal frameworks and the practice of modern diplomacy within this increasingly germane and wide-reaching aspect of public policy.


  • Access to medical opioids as human right and the international drug control system. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Roland Axtmann
  • Crypto-Drug Markets: A Unique Challenge to the Global Drug Prohibition Regime? (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Alan Collins
  • 'Afghanistan''''s Wicked Problems. Counterinsurgency and Counternarcotics in Afghanistan 2002-2011.' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Stephen Mcveigh