Editors: Carla Rossi, Susanna Conti

Evaluating the impact of Laws Regulating Illicit Drugs on Health and Society

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $94
Printed Copy: US $65
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-981-5079-25-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-981-5079-24-1 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2023
DOI: 10.2174/97898150792411230101


Evaluating the impact of Laws Regulating Illicit Drugs on Health and Society serves as an informative reference for social science researchers and policymakers on the science behind drug regulation.

The book presents contributions from many leading researchers in drug law and policy evaluation. The 12 chapters highlight scientific evidence from a diverse range of international projects on evaluation of different illicit drug laws. Each contribution takes policies into account while also using methodological tools and relevant data sets.

For a priori evaluation, the modern leximetric approach is applied to compare different drug laws. For posterior evaluation the analysis of social and health outcomes, using standard and new indicators are presented, discussed and applied. Next, the book covers the use of drug market estimation methods in policy research. Specific new indicators allowing the evaluation of interventions such as harm reduction and prevention are presented and analysed using international research data. The book concludes with a summary of the links of illegal drug market gains with corruption, and its consequences.

Evaluating the impact of Laws Regulating Illicit Drugs on Health and Society gives readers a unique, evidence-based perspective on the relationship between drugs, laws, policy and socioeconomic conditions.

Key Features

1. Features 12 contributions from international experts on drug legislation and social science

2. Demonstrates evidence-based evaluation of drug laws and policies

3. Highlights Leximetric and forecast methods applied to illicit drug laws with examples

4. Highlights the use of standard and new socioeconomic indicators to evaluate drug laws and policies

5. Informs readers about different policy approaches to drug regulation and their consequences

6. Summarizes the links of illegal drug markets with corruption

7. Provides detailed references for further reading


Social science researchers, economists, drug regulators, and policymakers


The goal of drug control laws and policies must be the health and well-being of humanity and a scientific, especially quantitative, approach must be used to evaluate current laws and policies.

This collection of papers highlights some important topics and tools for the scientific evaluation of various aspects and consequences of drug laws and policies.

In what follows, the term "drug" is used to denote what for a long time has been and still is largely defined as "illicit drugs", although new attitudes are emerging. Drug use and availability, public sentiment about drugs and drug use and some national legislations have changed radically over the past decades. There has been a distinct shift in the types of drugs used, with new and classical ones now co-circulating, which population groups use them, which drugs are deemed socially acceptable and in what circumstances, and how legal systems try to regulate drug use and drug supply.

Research and debate about drugs have distinct facets, many considered in this book, among which:

- The distinction between light and heavy drugs or, between light and heavy use of drugs and respective health aspects

- The legalization of light drugs vs their potentially increased use and measures to reduce over-use,

- Attitudes towards heavy, addictive drugs such as opioids and the balance between repression/treatment of users,

- The estimation of the supply side and the size of the illicit drug market and ways to control it,

- Assessing the impact of laws and policies regulating illicit drugs on health and society and their benefits and costs to society

- The difficulties associated with defining, understanding and measuring poly-drug use and its consequences,

- The problems in following the introduction and use of New Psychotropic Substances (NPS).

- The problems in following the introduction and use of New Psychotropic Substances (NPS).

This book contains a selection of essays about recent trends in analyses of the drug phenomenon and evaluation of laws and efficacy of policies, written by experts coming from different fields and different countries, representing a variety of views and cultures.

It will help readers to keep abreast with developments in this important sector of social life.

Rome, February 2022
Gianpaolo Scalia Tomba
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy