The 84-page report, entitled "Ending the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy," calls for reform of drug laws and theorizes a "drug-free world" based on prohibition is wasteful and expensive. It calls for a "major rethink of international drug policies."
The report suggests decriminalization would reduce incarceration and health care costs worldwide, and notes countries with the harshest drug penalties have higher incarceration and HIV infection rates.
"The report clearly says we're spending way too much, we're over-prioritizing expenditures on enforcement and we need...a broader array of public health interventions," said Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.
The authors, who base their conclusions on analyses of the United States, Latin America, Western Africa and Asia, urge that global resources shift from prosecution and imprisonment to "effective evidence-based strategies" that include treatment and public health initiatives.