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Keywords:

  • drug policy;
  • public health;
  • emerging democracy

There are increasing calls for an end to the war on drugs and criticism of the perceived undue influence of the United States in global drug policies. While the Western Hemisphere has been quite vocal, little is known about the perspectives of the Eastern Hemisphere, notably the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. To develop a broader world-view of U.S.-led drug policies, this qualitative study was undertaken to give voice to policy administrators from Central and Eastern European countries that received drug enforcement and drug policy training from the United States. The participants' narratives reveal a concordance of views that call on the United States to: (a) establish coherent public health focused policies, (b) base drug policies on empirical evidence rather than ideology and political rhetoric, (c) avoid isolationism through authentic engagement, and (d) develop fiscally sustainable policies. Whereas these emerging democracies have not been referenced in the international dialogue calling for changes in U.S.-led drug policy to date, their perspective of the assets and deficits of U.S.-led drug policy concord with those of their Latin American and Western European counterparts.