Drugs and organized crime

Chatham House research on drugs and organized crime includes work on illicit drugs and international security as well as policy reform, including UK policy.

The debate around drug policy reform has evolved more in recent years than it had for decades. A number of political obstacles remain to making recent developments related to organized and drug crime sustainable, but these should not be used as excuses for continuing with a failed status quo.

The international drug control system has been ineffective in reducing the size of the market and in preventing the emergence of new drugs and drug routes created by organized criminal gangs, that cause and shift instability around the world.

Many drug policies have been counter-productive, often causing more harm than the drugs themselves through capital punishment for offences, widespread incarceration, discrimination in law enforcement, violation of basic human rights in forced ‘treatment’ centres, and opportunity costs.