Effective drug policy: a new approach demonstrated in the Drug Policy Modelling Program

Authors

  • ALISON RITTER,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Sydney
      Drug Policy Modelling Program, Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. Tel: + 61 (2) 9385 0236. E-mail: alison.ritter@unsw.edu.au
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      Alison Ritter, PhD, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Sydney, Australia

  • GABRIELE BAMMER,

    1. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra
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      Gabriele Bammer, PhD, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, The Australian National University and Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University, USA

  • MARGARET HAMILTON,

    1. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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      Margaret Hamilton, MSocW, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

  • LORRAINE MAZEROLLE,

    1. School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Australia
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      Lorraine Mazerolle, PhD, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University

  • THE DPMP TEAM

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      The DPMP Team (P. Dietze, T. Moore, P. Perez, G. Midgley, W. Gregory, J. Caulkins & P. Reuter).


Drug Policy Modelling Program, Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. Tel: + 61 (2) 9385 0236. E-mail: alison.ritter@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to describe a new comprehensive approach to studying illicit drug policy – one that integrates evidence, disciplinary approaches, drug use behaviours and policy making processes. The methods described here include systematic reviews of the evidence, studies of the ways in which policy decision-making actually occurs, and the use of modelling approaches that can explicate the multi-dimensional nature of drug policy responses and their dynamic interactions. The approach described has the potential to facilitate new drug policy that would not have been possible or apparent through the sole study of one aspect of drug policy, such as the evidence-base or the political context or the economics of drug markets. We believe this approach may be more likely to produce strategic drug policy because it reflects the richness and complexity of the real world of drug use, and drug policy. The purpose of employing an integrative methodology is to create the potential for new drug policy insights, ideas and interventions – not restricted to one body of evidence, nor to accidental or fortuitous policy-making processes.

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