Bogotá Gets Advice From London

by Alastair Moore

This past week the London School of Economics released a press statement on their progress in South American drug policy work. The news in question was in relation to Colombia’s drug strategy.

Leading Academics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) are set to advise the Colombian Government on a post-‘war on drugs’ strategy on January 28th 2016 in Bogota.

The academics in charge of this encouraging step by the Colombian government are Professor Michael Cox and Dr. John Collins. The Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and senior government officials will be presented with their strategic framework in Bogotá.

Professor Cox and Dr. Collins will present an overview of the findings of the upcoming LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy’s report, ‘After the Drug Wars’. This will enable the Colombian government to incorporate its findings into their national drug policies and the upcoming UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs in 2016.

The two doctors are prominent names in the world of drug policy, involved with LSE IDEAS and the LSE’s Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy. The announcement comes at an important time with UNGASS set to take place in 2016.

Professor Cox, Director of LSE IDEAS described the discussions with the Colombian President as ‘historic’.

‘International drug policy is an area where the LSE has demonstrated its role as the world’s centre for social science research and impact. There is widespread recognition of the failures of the ‘war on drugs’ and the urgent need to implement new policies grounded in evidence. These historic discussions with President Santos and his Ministers will be vital in shifting the world onto a more sustainable path in its approach to these global issues and enabling Colombia to continue on its path to peace.’

Dr. Collins, who is the Executive Director of LSE IDEAS International Drug Policy Project spoke of a ‘global approach’ involving new models, harm reduction and a public health focus over a ‘singular prohibitionist model’.

‘Although global policy audiences will have to wait until February 15th to read this report in full, we at LSE are already working with governments to implement its findings. The report provides an entirely new strategy to move beyond the singular prohibitionist model of the ‘war on drugs’ towards a new global approach grounded in sustainable development, public health, harm reduction of consumption and illicit drug markets, and rigorous social scientific experiments with new models of legal regulation. Countries and the United Nations can and should use it move beyond the failures of the ‘war on drugs’ era.’

After the 15th of February the London School of Economics report will be available to the public.

Read the full LSE news report here and visit LSE IDEAS.

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