The Global Drug Policy Index aims to help policymakers evaluate and compare their own drug policies, provide actionable takeaways, and encourage them to adopt better public health measures. It is a platform that translates the complex drug policies of 30 countries into an accessible site.
The Global Drug Policy Index provides 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. It offers essential accountability and evaluation mechanism in the field of drug policy. The Index is composed of 75 indicators running across 5 broad dimensions of drug policy: the absence of extreme responses, the proportionality of the criminal justice response, health and harm reduction, access to controlled medicines, and development.
In February 2021, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) approached the Café Agency with a complex challenge: to create the Global Drug Policy Index, a tool that would evaluate national drug policies from 30 countries.
We're Café is a socially-conscious and award-winning information design studio based in the U.K. They combine design and technology to drive change by designing and delivering interactive data visualization tools, data-driven dashboards, and websites for projects that are tackling the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They have won numerous design awards and boast clients such as the World Health Organisation, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, Institute for Security Studies, and Transparency International to name just a few.
The site officially launched in November 2021. Unlike an infographic, the index allows users to browse and identify trends and how specific areas are ranked in each country. Brazil, for instance, was ranked last on the index because of its all-around low scores, particularly in the “harm reduction” category that assesses funding and coverage of services.
Even highly ranked countries can find ways to improve. For instance, Norway is ranked first, but scores relatively low in the “proportionality and criminal justice” category compared to other top-ranked countries. To improve their ranking, the country may see that non-violent offenders are frequently arrested and explore other rehabilitative alternatives.
Where is Ireland on the list you ask? They are not currently represented. What is a highly valuable tool is currently not being utilised by a number of European countries. Hopefully, in the next iteration, we see many more countries utilise this very smart tool.
“50 years after the escalation of the global ‘war on drugs, punitive drug policies continue to bring uncounted harms. The Index is the first-ever global accountability and evaluation mechanism to describe and assess national policies. We expect that governments will move away from repressive drug policies, as the Index provides them with new and objective data on the alignment of drug policies with UN recommendations on health, human rights, and development.”
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