Global Drug Policy Index 2021

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    • The inaugural Global Drug Policy Index was released by the Harm Reduction Consortium.

    About the Index

    • Aim: It is a unique tool that documents, measures and compares national-level drug policies, providing each country with a score and ranking that shows how much their drug policies and their implementation align with the UN principles of human rights, health and development.
    • Regions covered: This first iteration evaluates the performance of 30 countries covering all regions of the world.
    • It is composed of 75 indicators running across five broad dimensions of drug policy: Criminal justice, extreme responses, health and harm reduction, access to internationally controlled medicines, and development.

    Key takeaways from the Global Drug Policy Index

    • Top rankings: It ranks Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, the UK and Australia as the five leading countries on humane and health-driven drug policies.
      • Norway managed a score of 74/100.
    • Lowest-rankings: The five lowest-ranking countries are Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, Kenya, and Mexico.
    • India’s scenario: India’s rank is 18 out of 30 countries.
      • India has an overall score of 46/100. On the criteria of use of extreme sentencing and responses, it has a score of 63/100, on health and harm reduction, 49/100; on proportionality of criminal justice response, 38/100; on availability and access of internationally controlled substances for the relief of pain and suffering, 33 /100.
    • Median score: The median score across all 30 countries and dimensions is just 48/100.

    How was the Index developed?

    Issues/ Challenges

    • Variations: Standards and expectations from civil society experts on drug policy implementation vary from country to country.
    • Inequality is deeply seated in global drug policies: with the top-ranking 5 countries scoring 3 times as much as the lowest-ranking 5 countries. This is in part due to the colonial legacy of the ‘war on drugs approach.
    • Drug policies are inherently complex: a country’s performance in the Index can only be fully understood by looking across and within each of the dimensions.
    • Drug policies disproportionately affect people marginalised: on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
    • Wide disparities: There are wide disparities between state policies and how they are implemented on the ground.

    Source: IE