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Published on Jan 10, 2011
Alex Stevens discusses his research comparing drug policies of five countries—the Netherlands; Portugal; Sweden; the United Kingdom; and the United States—to determine whether drug policy affects drug use. His findings suggest that a penal response to drug use has no discernible correlation to lower drug-use rates. Rather, a greater commitment to treatment and harm-reduction policies--such as distributing clean needles--correlates with less drug use; countries with the lowest levels of welfare support have the highest levels of injectable drug use.
Professor Stevens is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Kent, England.
The Vera Institute of Justice is an independent, nonprofit research and policy organization that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.