Global Drug Policy Program
The Global Drug Policy Program promotes drug policies rooted in human rights, sustainable development, social justice, and public health.
Since 2008, we have been working to change the way the world approaches drug policy. In place of prohibition and punishment that treat all drug users and small-scale producers as criminals, we support a rational response to drugs focused on evidence-based policies, human rights, and sustainable development.
Through research, dialogue, advocacy, engagement, and action, we work with policymakers, academics, and grassroots groups to end prohibition and punitive drug control. Our work covers five main areas:
- supporting national and local groups that are working to eliminate criminal penalties for minor, nonviolent drug-related offenses and developing alternative approaches that directly engage communities most affected
- pushing for international and regional policy reforms through our own advocacy and through our support for established drug policy reform groups
- giving local advocates, journalists, and civil servants the chance to learn about policy innovation elsewhere through educational opportunities and exposure to alternative drug policies
- promoting an approach to cultivation and supply that rejects crop eradication and other blanket prohibition measures and instead recognizes the full range of economic and political conditions affecting small-scale producers and microtraders
- providing rapid responses to human rights emergencies related to excessive drug control measures, including violence by security forces, paramilitaries, and others
Public Health First
Incarceration Should Not Be a Death Sentence
Despite earlier promises to fight the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of nonviolent offenders in jails and prisons, governments worldwide are dragging their feet and prioritizing the drug war ahead of public health.
Keep Families Together
We Must Not Forget the Children of the Incarcerated
As a new report shows, draconian anti-drug policies in Latin America don’t just harm people who use or sell substances; they harm the children and families of the incarcerated, too. Thankfully, there’s a better way.
A Pivotal Decade for the Movement to End the “War on Drugs”
Over the past decade, Open Society’s Global Drug Policy Program has supported reformers all over the world as they organize against the worst effects of the failed “war on drugs.” The future is bright, but challenges remain.