06 December 2012 - 08 December 2012

How should drug control policy change?

Chair: Baroness Meacher of Spitalfields

This was a lively discussion on a complex and difficult issue, and an increasingly topical one. The focus was on demand, but questions of supply could not be ignored, especially when distinctions between consumer, supplier and transit countries were breaking down rapidly. Our starting point was the current scene, where illicit drug consumption is overall static or declining in the developed world but increasing rapidly in parts of the developing world. Use of synthetic drugs was rising fast, and should be given more attention, as should so-called legal highs. The profile of the average drugs user had also changed, at least in the developed world, and no longer fitted the common mental image of the marginalised young heroin addict.

We agreed that we always needed to be specific about particular drugs and particular national contexts, and avoid too many generalisations, and false dichotomies, for example between the poles of prohibition and legalisation. But we could not avoid looking at the overall question of whether current policies were working. Some argued that they were, in the sense that rates of illicit drug use remained relatively low among the general population, and were falling in developed countries. But the majority view was that the unintended negative consequences of current policies, in terms of the creation of a massive criminal industry, with terrible effects of violence and organised crime, particularly in traditional supplier countries, meant that a fresh look was needed. A shift towards policies more focussed on public health benefits, and less on law-enforcement, was generally seen as the direction to pursue, using more rational calculations of the overall harm arising both from illicit drugs themselves, and the policies used to control them. Law enforcement itself should concentrate even more than now on the major players in the illegal drugs trade, not the users. Decriminalisation of use, de facto and de iure, was part of such a move.

This did not mean there was a lot of support for legalisation or even widespread decriminalisation at this stage. The risks of such moves were unknown and potentially huge. But we needed to have the courage to try new approaches and test out the results, particularly for cannabis, which was not especially harmful or addictive. The sky had not fallen in Portugal when they had introduced their new policies a decade ago. There was huge interest in the votes for legalisation of cannabis in two US states, and in New Zealand ideas for official sanctioning of new “legal highs” if the producers could show they met safety standards.

On the demand reduction side, education could be effective, if its messages were truthful and not exaggerated, as had too often been the case in the past. Other demand reduction measures had also proved more cost-effective than attempts to control supply, which usually only squeezed the balloon, or raised prices in the short term. In any case, the most pressing need was for wider availability of all kinds of treatment, and acceptance that addiction could be cured.

On the international side, there was wide agreement that the current UN Conventions were outdated and not really fit for purpose, but no belief that change was likely to be agreed, given widely differing national approaches. The UNGHA Special Session in 2016 would nevertheless be an opportunity for a new debate. The key thing would be to ensure that the Conventions did not prevent the kind of experimentation with alternative approaches we needed to see. Flexibility was important and should be encouraged. Meanwhile there was also a need for more solidarity, or shared responsibility, between developed and developing countries. The former needed to help the latter more, and in a better coordinated way, even if drugs problems were often the symptom of wider governance issues, not the cause.

There was no agreed ‘Ditchley Charter’ for the future, but broad recommendations from the majority of participants could be identified. There was also a widespread feeling that we needed to work out more clearly and rationally than we have so far the real basis and aims of our policies on illicit drugs.


This was a particularly timely conference, as the subject of drugs policy came back on to the political agenda in various countries for different reasons. It is an issue which Ditchley has looked at on several occasions in the past, from 1969 onwards. Some of the underlying philosophical issues have not varied much, but the context and the degree of understanding have changed out of all recognition, and thinking has moved a long way in many ways. This has not however had as much effect on policy as it might, no doubt partly because the public debate has been so stilted: politicians in office fear being accused of being ‘soft’ on drugs. This may be beginning to change too.

We had assembled a diverse group of experts and practitioners around the table, which ensured a lively debate. While we were far from consensus on many issues, some trends clearly emerged in favour of a fresh look at the underlying assumptions of current policy, and at the practical steps needed to make more of a difference, and to avoid too many negative unintended consequences. We were unfortunately missing representatives of some of the more hard-line international views on the issue, for example from Russia and China, but all currents of thought were nevertheless present and listened to with respect. This encourages the hope that the debate can become more rational and evidence-based, and less ideological and political.

Our main focus was deliberately on demand for drugs, but we were constantly reminded that whatever happened in terms of consumption had dramatic impacts on the main supplier countries, whose needs and problems could not be ignored. We were also constantly reminded that old distinctions between consumer, producer and transit countries meant little. Producer and transit countries were increasingly also consumers of drugs, while consumer countries were manufacturing more synthetic drugs all the time, as well as growing cannabis through individuals.

Current trends

We spent some time looking at where we are in terms of drug consumption, and where we are going. The starting point was the reminder that, at present, 99.7% of the world’s population are not daily drug users, and 97% do not take drugs at all. This was on the (obviously wrong) basis that alcohol and tobacco were not classified as illicit/dangerous drugs. Rich developed countries had much higher addiction rates than the developing world, with one third of all addicts in North America. But this was changing rapidly. Consumption in many developed countries was static or falling. Consumption and addiction were clearly growing apace in many developing countries, though the data was in many cases weak or non-existent. Of the 220 million people who used illicit drugs at least once a year, 170 million took cannabis, and 50 million other drugs, though there were obviously overlaps between these groups too.

If current trends continued, the global drugs problem, while remaining costly and damaging to the developed world, would rapidly become essentially a developing country issue, with the added complication that many of these countries had far weaker governance structures to cope with this, and far less options available for treatment. This was an alarming prospect, particularly when combined with the power and money of drug cartels which were undermining every aspect of some vulnerable states in several parts of the world. We should also assume that drugs would become an increasing phenomenon in the major emerging economies such as China and India, since purchasing power and drug consumption went together, at least for so-called recreational use.

In any case it was clear that we could not and should not talk of a single global drugs problem. There were great variations in trends of use, and associated harms, across the world. Unfortunately lack of reliable data meant that we understood some of the trends poorly or hardly at all. On the other hand we knew quite a lot about what was happening in some countries and some areas of the problem. Lack of data should not be used as an excuse for inaction in these areas. We also needed to be specific about different drugs and their effects, rather than lumping them all together. Cannabis was for example seen by many around the table as in a category of its own, in terms of low harm and relatively low addictiveness, and deserving of being treated as such.

Looking at the picture in a little more detail, use of new synthetic drugs was increasing fast in most parts of the world, particularly the developed world, and was hard to track, since new compounds were appearing all the time – some legal and some illegal, with their status changing fast and varying between different countries. The ‘legal highs’ issue, from use of prescription drugs like painkillers, was an increasing concern, particularly but not only in developed countries like the US. Heroin use was decreasing in most developed countries – no longer seen as ‘cool’ – but increasing in some developing countries. Cocaine consumption was steady in developed countries, particularly in powder form for recreational use, but rising elsewhere, not least in Latin America itself.

The internet was changing the drugs scene rapidly and constantly. It was a major medium for information, marketing and sale of drugs. Many young people relied on what they could find there to inform themselves about what was available and what was ‘safe’. Official information was widely distrusted.

The traditional mental picture of the typical drug user was a long way out of date. While young marginalised addicts injecting themselves and relying on crime to feed their habits certainly still existed, the user population was increasingly older and richer, at least in the developed world. We certainly needed to distinguish between these two very different populations: the recreational users who could continue normal lives, at least for a considerable period, and the marginalised dependents with no job and no prospects.

Death rates from drugs overall reflected the rate of use: currently almost 250,000 annually world-wide from use of illicit drugs. This compared with 2.5 million annual deaths from alcohol related causes and almost 6 million from tobacco.

We also spent some time on the definition of an illicit ‘drug’. We agreed that it was hard to see it as currently based on entirely rational criteria, especially when we considered how it had changed over time. Alcohol and tobacco should be regarded as dangerous drugs by any definition, but were regulated and controlled, not banned. The border between what was to be banned and what allowed, either under prescription or freely, was increasingly hard to draw as new synthetic drugs appeared. There was an urgent need for scientifically based criteria of potential harm by which to classify drugs, and for information on the basis of which people could make informed choices. New Zealand was currently aiming to introduce such a system, and there was great interest in what this might look like and how it would work.

We also talked about why people took drugs, and indeed why people did not. It was clearly hard to generalise, since much was context- and culture-specific. But we needed to try to understand these things better, and look at what many saw as the beneficial side of drugs, ie feeling good in different ways, without resorting to mantras about all drugs being simply evil per se, since that did not correspond to reality or current perceptions. This was also important to help establish what would be a tolerable level of drug use in a particular society, on the reasonable assumption that drugs were not going to disappear altogether, whatever we did.

The ‘war on drugs’ and its success or failure

Most participants rejected the language of the war on drugs as inappropriate and misleading, and were therefore unwilling to enter a simplistic debate about whether it had failed or succeeded. Views varied widely about the substance of the issue. Some took the line that the current global approach, dominated by concepts of interdiction, prohibition and law enforcement, had failed across the board. It was now clear that drugs policies were more of a problem than the drugs themselves. At the other end of the spectrum, some argued that the fact that 99.7% of the world’s population did not take drugs daily was evidence of success. Most were somewhere between the two. Most also rejected the notion that the debate should be about prohibition versus legalisation. This was one of the false dichotomies of the current debate. There were many possibilities between these two extremes, and policies which did not fit under either rubric, such as decriminalisation of possession and use, and substitution. In any case the debate had to be specific about specific drugs in specific national contexts. Otherwise it was meaningless.

The majority view was nevertheless that we needed to move further away from law-enforcement-dominated approaches and towards those based on public health benefits (though it was of course not a straight choice between security and health). Money spent on drugs policy in most countries was still predominantly for law enforcement, even though the evidence was that money spent on other elements such as prevention, demand reduction and treatment produced far more bang per buck. An interesting cautionary note was however struck by some around the table: if drugs policy and accompanying resources became mostly the responsibility of health authorities, less money overall would be spent on such policies, because from a public health point of view illicit drugs caused far less problems than regulated drugs like alcohol and tobacco, or diseases like diabetes or obesity. It was also suggested that some money apparently spent on law enforcement in fact went on treatment or other health-related measures.

The big point behind this discussion was the overall effect of the criminalisation of all aspects of the drugs trade. The majority view was that the unintended negative consequences had been huge in the last 40 years. A massive criminal industry had been created, accompanied by very high levels of violence, with those involved in the trade having a great vested interest in increasing drug use. The law enforcement effort put in had not stopped the trade, now the second largest commodity trade in the world, worth some $300-500 billion per year, though it had often put up prices, at least temporarily. Pressure on production in one country only had the effect of increasing it somewhere else, the so-called balloon-squeezing effect. Meanwhile as the UNODC ‘Fit for Purpose’ report of 2008 had made clear, there were other negative effects too, on respect for human rights, lack of consideration of other countries’ situations, and restrictions on the availability of valuable drugs for medical purposes.

There was little serious challenge to the idea that these negative consequences of current approaches had been very significant, especially for ‘supplier countries’ like Afghanistan, Colombia and Mexico, which were the places actually suffering by far the most from the crime and violence. However, there was dispute about the policy conclusions to be drawn from this.  Many speakers pointed out that any legalisation of drugs would be a huge gamble, a historic leap into the unknown, given the risk of increasing use and lower prices (unless taxes were very high, which would then encourage smuggling again, as with cigarettes), with all the unintended negative consequences of that too. The fact that drugs were illegal was probably a major deterrent to consumption for many people. Moreover, legalising drugs would not get rid of international organised crime, which had several other strings to its bow, even if the profits from the drugs trade were high. (The counter argument was that eradication of organised crime was an unreasonably high bar to set for any policy, and inability to achieve it not in itself a good argument against moves away from the current approach).  It was also pointed out that, even within the present legal framework, a lot of flexibility was available, for example to avoid unnecessary, expensive and counterproductive incarcerations, and encourage treatment. 

There was a lot of support for the idea that, even if law enforcement continued to be an important part of combating drug use, the effort should be concentrated against the traffickers and major criminal elements, not against personal users, or even perhaps small-scale dealers. The other under-investigated element was the money trail.

This led us on to discussion of decriminalisation of personal use of drugs. Again it was pointed out that the term was used far too loosely and covered many different things. Care should therefore be exercised in the discussion. Many developed countries where the law had not changed were in practice not pursuing personal users, particularly of cannabis – a kind of de facto decriminalisation. The stigma was beginning to disappear. But the possibility of arrest and a criminal record were nevertheless still there, and continued to dissuade many from coming forward and seeking treatment or help. Would it not therefore be better and more logical to move to genuine decriminalisation, at least of some drugs, with cannabis as the most likely starting point? This would enable proper regulation of consumption, and make it potentially safer, because quality and strength could be controlled, and young people would feel more able to seek help before becoming seriously dependent on addictive drugs.

Views were divided. It would be difficult to decriminalise some drugs and not others, particularly where the new synthetic drugs were concerned. No-one knew what a regulated retail trade in eg cannabis would actually look like. The fact that you can grow it yourself complicated the issue. The risk of commercial exploitation and encouragement of consumption would be there – some tobacco companies were already positioning themselves. In any case, how could you have a regulated retail business when trafficking and large-scale production were still banned? Others thought that this was the direction in which we were heading, and welcomed it as the first crack in the wall of policies which had proved their lack of fitness for purpose.

This led us to look at the Portuguese experience, now more than ten years old. It was important to understand that it was not legalisation – consumption was still against the law - but the removal of a criminal penalty and a criminal record from the equation for small users. There were differing views on what the effect had been, and how far these effects had been a result of the legislation or better access to treatment, or other trends happening anyway. But for most round the table the key point was that the sky had not fallen in. Portugal had not become a drug haven. We could and should look at the evidence of consumption and treatment trends and try to work out whether similar moves might be beneficial in other national contexts, which would be different from Portugal’s own. Similarly we should continue to study the Dutch and Czech experiences. The legalisation of cannabis in Uraguay also offered a new opportunity to research the effects of drug policy changes.

This also illustrated a wider point on show throughout the conference – the thirst for experimentation or pilot projects in different countries and different contexts to see what happened when different approaches were tried. There was huge interest in what might happen in Washington State and Colorado in the US after their recent votes to move towards different ways of legalising cannabis consumption (though US participants warned against expecting much, given the current federal law), what the effects of the New Zealand proposals already mentioned might be, and what might happen in some Latin American countries moving in similar directions. The fact was that we did not know what the effect of liberalisation might be. But we would never know until we tried, and the courage to do that was what was now needed, given the problems with current policies. Such trials need not be irresponsible, and were certainly not necessarily irreversible.

This seemed to be the majority view, based on a conviction that current drugs policies were now causing more harm than the drugs themselves. But there were other voices too, cautioning that the only moral and effective recommendation about drugs was abstinence, that the risks of a shift to decriminalisation of drug-taking were simply too great, since it implied that they were not harmful, and that in any case politicians and public were still not ready for the kind of thing being suggested.

Reducing and controlling demand

The majority view here was that the framework for policy should focus above all on reducing the harm from drugs, both for the individuals using them, and for wider society, not on reducing either demand or supply as an end in itself. Again this needed to be done on a drug by drug basis. We should also look at the harm of drugs policies, in developing as well as developed countries, and try to quantify these. It would be a complex calculus – a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis, using broad definitions of both, was needed.

One size fits all policies would not work, as we had seen. If we were going to have such a framework, we needed better and more objective ways of measuring what constituted harm. For example we should look scientifically at rates of morbidity and mortality, in relation to rates of use, and how addictive drugs were, and try not to be thrown off course every time a teenage death from drugs was used by the media to draw false conclusions about the risks. We also needed to look at the harm caused by the crime, violence and money associated with the current drugs trade.

It was unfortunate that the idea of reducing harm had been damaged by the connotation attached in the public debate to ‘harm reduction’, which had been unreasonably equated with legalisation. It was another example of labels which concealed more than they revealed.

Within the framework of trying to reduce harm, demand reduction was overall seen as providing better value for money than attempts at supply reduction. Studies had provided striking figures in support of that idea. It also produced far less unintended negative consequences. Economically speaking, if there were no demand, there would be no supply; per contra, as long as there was demand, there would always be supply. However others argued that demand and supply reduction both had to be pursued in parallel, and in a concerted way. Prohibition and repression could be effective in some parts of the market, at least temporarily.

Education was often dismissed as ineffective in the drugs context, but that was a superficial conclusion. Education had produced excellent results in the case of tobacco, and could do the same for other drugs. The problem was that most official drugs education campaigns had exaggerated and even lied about the risks, and advocated exclusively abstinence. They had lost all credibility with the potential drug-using population as a result, and the internet had filled the gap, for better or for worse.

But the pressing need was above all for more availability of treatment, whether step-based abstinence programmes, substitution programmes or maintenance programmes. Many addicts/dependent users wanted to enter such programmes but found they were not accessible. Money spent on treatment was generally well-spent in terms of results. There were far more recovered addicts around in developed countries than was generally realised, and this should be publicised more to show recovery was not only possible but likely for many. Early intervention with those most at risk of developing dependency could also be effective. Again there was encouraging evidence to this effect.

International approaches

The starting point for this debate was the utility and relevance of the UN Conventions. Most thought that they were the product of another era, designed to deal with the problems of the relatively small proportion of drug users who were chronically dependent. But few if any thought there was much chance of reaching an international consensus on how they should be amended, given the wide spectrum of opinion around the international community.

The question was therefore how much flexibility there was under the Conventions for individual countries to pursue their own policies, suited to their own contexts. Views differed. Some thought the wide spectrum of national policies around, from Switzerland to Saudi Arabia, and everything in between, showed that considerable flexibility was there. Others pointed out that some things under consideration, like the legalisation of cannabis, would not be allowed under the Conventions, and the necessary experimentation with alternative approaches was being unnecessarily stifled. Moreover, some countries seemed to be more equal than others when it came to flexibility. Traditional consumer countries, with good lawyers, and good relations with the major powers, particularly the US, seemed to get away with more than traditional supplier countries, who were leaned on hard if they threatened to step out of line. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) meanwhile was very tough in some areas, and less so in others, and seemed to lack both consistency and flexibility.

In general, there was a view that some kind of international framework was needed. Individual countries could not be left entirely to their own devices in producing national drug policies, since the external effects on others were potentially so great. On the other hand, a rigid international policy which was trying to cover all eventualities and different national situations could not be appropriate either. A balance needed to be struck, and most participants favoured greater flexibility than now.

Was there room for regional policies, as opposed to global ones? This seemed an attractive idea at first sight. But countries could be in very different situations within the same region, whether in Europe, or particularly say in Latin America or Asia. Overall regionalism did not look promising. There might be merit in looking instead at categories of countries, and trying to devise appropriate approaches for each category. The problems of Mexico, for example, were very different from the problems of the UK, and a single policy approach for both looked doomed to fail. But so-called narco-states, from West Africa to Central America to Central Asia, seemed to face similar issues, and similar approaches could be devised.

Another promising approach could be ‘shared responsibility’, based on the idea of global solidarity. It was unacceptable for countries to be unconcerned by the effect their own policies might have on others, and even to try to push their problems elsewhere. In particular, developed countries had a real responsibility to help the traditional major supplier countries, whose problems arose from the developed countries’ demand,  which were suffering from chronic violence and organised crime, and which were rapidly becoming consumer countries too. The truth was that drugs were now a manageable problem for most developed countries, with little overt violence. The violence and drama were elsewhere, but closely linked to their policies. These vulnerable countries, such as Afghanistan, needed a more coordinated approach from the rest of the international community, and policies which targeted drug barons and warlords more, and peasant farmers trying to make a living in desperately poor circumstances less.

At the same time, these countries had to accept that drugs were not solely or even mainly responsible for their problems. They were vulnerable because of weak governance and institutions. Poppy was not grown in Afghanistan because conditions there were ideally suited but because the producers and traffickers could get away with it there. We could not agree on whether poverty and inequality were drivers of drug consumption and problems. The best answer seemed to be that this could be the case in some circumstances – for example most traditional producer countries were characterised by poverty and associated problems.

The UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs now planned for 2016 was widely welcomed as an opportunity to discuss all these issues and put some fresh thinking into the debate. The Presidents’ initiative in Latin America should feed into this helpfully. But there were cautionary words about not letting expectations get too high. Changing the Conventions would remain very problematic. Changing the contents of the Schedule could be more promising but even that would be difficult, to say the least.


We did not come up with a Ditchley Charter for the future, and as the above account aims to bring out, there remain many disagreements beneath the words. But the following broad points seemed to represent the views of the majority:

  • The ground is shifting and a new and more rational and respectful debate is becoming possible, even among politicians still in office. This is an opportunity to be seized.
  • The nature of the problem is changing rapidly, and drug consumption in developing countries and major emerging economies is likely to dominate future debate.
  • Polarisation between prohibitionists and legalisers, and other false dichotomies, should be avoided.
  • Proposals and solutions need to be as specific as possible, to specific drugs and specific national/geographic situations.
  • Greater flexibility of approach is required, and the courage to try new options to see what works – the sky need not fall.
  • Cannabis may be a special case where a genuinely different approach could be tried.
  • The basis of overall policy should be more public health than law enforcement, particularly for the drug user.
  • Reducing harm should be the framework for such policies, but better ways of measuring this are urgently required.
  • Demand reduction measures can offer better value for money, and less unintended negative consequences, than supply reduction efforts.
  • Treatment needs to be much more widely available.
  • Law enforcement should concentrate, even more than now, on traffickers and organised crime, not users.
  • The UN Conventions are outdated but not too much effort should be wasted trying to amend them. Allowing more national flexibility and experimentation under the rules would be a more productive approach at this stage.
  • More attention should be paid to synthetic drugs, and how to assess/control/regulate them, including the issue of legal highs.
  • Developed countries need to recognise the damage their demand for drugs and their policies can cause to traditional supplier/transit countries, and step up their efforts to help.
  • Much better data are needed from many developing countries and emerging economies.


Several participants, in different ways, made the point that, before we can hope to get our drugs policies right, we need to work out much more clearly than now what we are really trying to achieve, and what our policies are based on. Do we think that drugs are an evil which we should be trying to stamp out, or an inevitable part of human existence, the harmful effects of which we should be trying to control? Have we really thought through the criteria we use to determine what is and is not a dangerous mind-active drug, or are we prisoners of the past? Can we not come up with an approach which is more coherent between supposedly (at least in some cases) dangerous ‘drugs’, and definitely dangerous substances like tobacco and alcohol? This is an immensely complex area, where there are no easy solutions or magic bullets. But unless we move the debate onto more rational scientific lines, begin to think out of the box more, and introduce more flexibility, the chances of genuinely successful and respected policies in this area still look slim.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


CHAIR: Baroness Meacher of Spitalfields (UK)
Life Peer (Crossbench), House of Lords; Chairman, All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform; Author, 'New Methods of Mental Health Care', OUP; 'Scrounging on the Welfare', Penguin.  Formerly: Chair, East London NHS Foundation Trust; Chair Security Industry Authority; Deputy Chair, Police Complaints
Authority; Mental Health Act Commissioner.


General Khodaidad
Formerly: Minister of Counter Narcotics, Afghanistan (2007-10); Deputy Minister of Counter Narcotics, Afghanistan (2004-07); Minister of National Security, Afghanistan (1992); Head of Peace Reconciliation
and Re-integration, Central provinces of Afghanistan (1987-90); Operational Commander, Central Afghanistan and senior positions in Afghan Ministry of Defence (1984-92).

His Excellency Mr Haroon Rashid Sherzad 
Deputy Minister for Policy and Coordination, Ministry of Counter Narcotics, Kabul.  Formerly: National Program Officer for Counter Narcotics, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Director General Policy and Coordination, Ministry of Counter Narcotics; Director of Strategic Communication, Ministry of Counter Narcotics; Regional Desk Director, General Directorate of Counter Narcotics, National Security Council.

Ambassador Omar Samad
Senior Expert in Residence, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC (2011-).  Formerly: Afghan Diplomatic Service (2001-11); Ambassador of Afghanistan to France (2009-11); Ambassador to Canada (2004-09); Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kabul (2001-04); CNN Commentator (2001); President, Afghan Information Center, USA (1996-2001); Executive Producer, Azadi Afghan Radio, USA (1996-2001).

Dr Alex Wodak AM
Physician; Emeritus Consultant, Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney; President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation; Director, Australia21.  Formerly: Director, Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney; President, International Harm Reduction Association (1996-2004).

Dr Jean Daudelin
Associate Professor (2011-), formerly Assistant Professor (2002-11), The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa.  Formerly: Visiting Professor, University of São Paulo (2007); Principal Researcher, Conflict and Human Security, North-South Institute, Ottawa (1998-2002).

Dr Jennifer Jeffs
President and CEO, Canadian International Council; A Director, Centre for Inter-American Studies and Programmes, Mexico City; Member, Advisory Council, Canada-Mexico Initiative.  Formerly: Deputy Executive Director and Senior Fellow, The Centre for International Governance Innovation, Ontario, Canada; Director, Center for Inter-American Studies and Programs, Independent Technological Institute of Mexico.

Professor Neil Boyd
Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University; Director, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, United Nations Programme Network of Institutes.  Formerly: Director, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University.

Miss Beatriz Mejia-Asserias 
First Secretary, Embassy of Colombia to the United Kingdom.  Formerly: Consultant, World
Bank, Washington, DC. 

His Excellency Mr Mauricio Rodríguez Múnera 
Diplomatic Service of Colombia; Ambassador of Colombia to the United Kingdom (2009-).  Formerly:
Founder and Director, 'Portafolio' (financial newspaper); Founder and Host, 'Sala de redacción' (weekly television programme); Journalist; Senior positions in Department of Finance, Dow Chemical, Colombia, Venezuela, United States, Switzerland, Italy; President and Professor, University of the Andes, CESA
Business School.

Mrs Daniela Spinant 
Head, Anti-Drugs Policy Unit, Directorate-General Justice, European Commission, Brussels.

Mr Paul Griffiths
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon (2003-); Scientific Director (2010-).  Formerly: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna; National Addiction Centre, London. 

Mrs Mechthild Dyckmans MdB
Drug Commissioner of the German Federal Government, Ministry of Health, Berlin (2009-). 

Dr Ingo Ilja Michels
Project Leader, EU Central Asia Drug Action Programme, German Society for International Cooperation Regional Office, Bishkek; Sociologist and Advisor on treatment of drug dependency.  Formerly: Head, Drugs and Prison Projects Department, German AIDS-Hilfe, Berlin; Drug Commissioner, Federal State of
Bremen; Head, Office of the Federal Drug Commissioner, Federal Ministry of Health, Berlin.

Mr Henning Droege
Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Guatemala.

His Excellency Mr Acisclo Valladares Molina 
Diplomatic Service of Guatemala; Ambassador of Guatemala to the United Kingdom.  Formerly:
Attorney General of Guatemala; Ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Hellenic Republic (2000-04); Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations Organisations in Rome; Regional Coordinator, Group of 77, Rome (2000-04); Secretary General, PLP
Progressive Liberator Party (1998-2000).

Ms Virginia Comolli
Research Associate, Transnational Threats, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London; Co-Author, 'Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: The Problems of Prohibition' (Adelphi Series, 2012).  Formerly: Seconded to UK Ministry of Justice as an Expert Analyst (2010); Research Analyst and Assistant to the Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk, IISS.

Mr Antonio Maria Costa
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Policy Models, Vienna.  Formerly: Under-Secretary-General, United Nations; Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General, United Nations Office in Vienna (2002-10); Secretary-General, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London (1992-2002); Director-General for Economics and Finance, European Commission, Brussels (1987-92).

Dr Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen
Research Director, Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, Oslo; Chair, Editorial Board, Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs; Member, Scientific Committee, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and
Drug Addiction, Lisbon.

Ms Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch 
Director, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations, Warsaw; Member, Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organisation.  Formerly: HIV and Development Program, United Nations Development Program, New York and Poland; Director, International Harm Reduction evelopment Program, Open Society Institute, New York (1999-2007); Member, UN Millennium Project's Task Force on HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, and Access to Essential Medicines.

Dr Nuno Capaz
Vice-President, Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction/Ministry of Health, Lisbon.

Professor Manuel Pinto-Coelho MD, PhD 
Visiting Professor, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro; Member and Researcher, Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD); Chairman, Association for a Drug Free Portugal
(APLD); National Representative, European Cities Against Drugs; Portuguese Delegate, Drug Watch International.

Dr Michel Kazatchkine 
UN Secretary General's Envoy on AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Member, Global Commission on Drug Policy.  Formerly: Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2007); French Ambassador on HIV/AIDS and Communicable Diseases (2005-07); Chair, Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organisation (WHO) (2004-07); Director, National Agency for Research on AIDS (1998-2005).

Mr Robert Baxter
Associate Fellow, International Security Research Directorate, Chatham House.

Lord Blair of Boughton Kt, QPM
Life Peer (Crossbench), House of Lords; Commissioner, Commission on Assisted Dying (2010-); Chairman, Blue Light Global Solutions; Chair, Thames Valley Partnership.  Formerly: Commissioner, Metropolitan Police (2005-08); Deputy Commissioner (2000-05).

Mr Mark Boother
Her Majesty's Inspector of Probation; Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey Fellow, University of Minnesota. 
Formerly: Strategic Manager of Services for Child Offenders; Probation Officer, London.

Mr Jamie Bridge
Senior Policy and Operations Manager, International Drug Policy Consortium (2012-); Director and Trustee, Harm Reduction International.  Formerly: Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; International Harm Reduction Association (now Harm Reduction International) (2006-09).

Dr Paul Chandwani
Head of Drugs, Drugs and Alcohol Unit, Home Office, London.

Mr John Dew
HM Diplomatic Service (1975-).  Formerly: Ambassador to Colombia (2008-12); Ambassador to Cuba (2004-08); Secondment to Lehman Brothers Investment Bank, London (2003-04); Head, Latin America and Caribbean Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2000-03).

Mr Paul Hayes
Chief Executive, National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, London (2001-); Adviser to Ministers in the Department of Health and Home Office on provision of drug treatment in England.  Formerly: Probation Service.

Mr Roger Howard
Chief Executive, UK Drug Policy Commission, London (2007-); Member, Scottish Government's Drug Strategy Delivery Commission.  Formerly: Member, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs; CEO and Director, Crime Concern, DrugScope and National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders; Member, Joint Royal Colleges Working Group on Addictions; Member, Chief Medical Officer's advisory group on clinical guidance for the treatment of drug dependency; Founder, Welsh Drug and Alcohol Misuse Unit, Welsh Assembly.

Mr William Hughes
Member, Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Durham Law School (2010-).  Formerly: International Director, BlueLight Global Solutions; Director General, Serious Organised Crime Agency, London (2004-10); UK Head of Delegation, European Police Chiefs Task Force (2000-10); Chief Constable/Director General, National
Crime Squad.

Mr Danny Kushlick
Founder (1996) and Head of External Affairs, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Bristol. Formerly: Drug Counsellor.

Mr John McCracken
rugs Programme Manager, Department of Health, London; UK Representative, Management Board, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Professor David Nutt DM FRCP FRCPsych FSB FMedSci 
Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head, Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Division of Brain Science, Department of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London; Chair, Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.  Formerly: President, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology; Member and Chair, Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (1998-2009); Medical Expert, Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act (2000 Runciman report); Clinical Scientific Lead, 2004/5 UK Government Foresight initiative 'Brain science, addiction and drugs'.

Mr Alan Penrith 
International Drugs and Crime Coordinator, National Security Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Dr Max Rendall MB, B CHIR, FRCS
Consultant, The Stapleford Centre, London; Author, 'Legalize: the only way to combat drugs'.  Formerly: Consultant Surgeon, Guy's Hospital.

The Honorable Charles DeWitt
Co-Owner, Lafayette Group Inc., Washington DC (1993-).  Formerly: Director, National Institute of Justice (1990-93); Director of Border Security, The White House, Washington DC (1989-90); Director, Justice Division, San Jose, California (1978-84).  A Member of the Advisory Council, The American Ditchley Foundation.

Ms Mathea Falco 
President and Founder (1993), Drug Strategies, Washington DC; Visiting Scholar, Center for International Criminal Justice, Harvard Law School; Board of Directors, Treatment Research Institute, University of
Pennsylvania.  Formerly: Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (2005-07); Associate Professor, Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University; Member, Harvard University Board of Overseers; US Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters (1977-81).

Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown
Fellow, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution.  Formerly: Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

The Honorable Gil Kerlikowske
Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy, The White House (2009-).  Formerly: Chief of Police for Seattle, Washington; Deputy Director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice; Police Commissioner of Buffalo, New York.  Formerly: President of the Major Cities Chiefs (two terms); President, Police Executive Research Forum; Chair, Board of Directors, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Mitchell S Rosenthal MD
Founder (1967), Phoenix House Foundation; Lecturer in Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Formerly: White House Advisor on drug abuse; Special Consultant to the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Chair, New York State Advisory Council on Substance Abuse (1985-97).

Dr Kevin Sabet PhD
Director, Drug Policy Institute, and Assistant Professor, University of Florida; President, Policy Solutions Lab, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Senior Advisor, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.  Formerly: Senior Policy Advisor to the Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy, The White House (2009-11); Senior Drug Policy Researcher to Bush and Clinton Administrations (2002 and 2000).