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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
|Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs|
|Volume 3 - Public Policy Options|
Chapter 21 - Public policy options
Components of a public policy
The public policies described in the preceding chapter, as well as the policies of Denmark, Portugal, and Mexico, have a number of elements in common: they rely on a strong decision-making body, promote interconnection and multiple viewpoints, aim at national consensus on clear and measurable objectives, and rely on independent knowledge and assessment tools.
Strong decision-making body
One may disagree with the political orientation of the American Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); but no one can deny the office gives strong direction to American national policy on drugs. Although one may be critical of the structural rigidity of the French Missioninterministérielle (MILDT), or its timidity with respect to legislative debate, however, one cannot help but agree that the MILDT has strongly influenced French policy and practice in the past five years. Each country covered in the preceding chapter has a highly visible, well-known decision-making body that has undeniable legitimacy and methods of action that meet expectations.
In our opinion, the question of drugs, inasmuch as it is broader than the jurisdiction of a single government department or level of government, inasmuch as it refers to our collective ways of relating to society and others, and especially inasmuch as it demands both integration and differentiation, must be governed by an agency that is not accountable to a particular department and can define direction for (not enforce diktats on) all players.
The policies on psychoactive substances are the concern of educators and therapists, police officers and anthropologists, diplomats and local associations and, of course, users. The ability to tie things together for knowledge and comprehension purposes supposes an ability to link specialties, administrations, individuals. This is the meaning of interconnection that a public policy must be capable of making.
A shared definition of shared objectives
In Chapters 11 and 18, we saw that federal policy on drugs, in addition to lacking rigour and clarity, means and infrastructures, is not a national policy. This does not mean there is no place for specific approaches by the provinces and territories that make up the Canadian mosaic. However, if a common culture on drugs is to emerge, if we are to better understand behaviours of use through geographic comparison, if players are to benefit from the experience of others, tools must be developed for the joint definition of shared objectives.
Moreover, the ability - and the will - to define objectives is the foundation of any future evaluation to determine whether or not the action taken is in sync with the objectives and is effective; in short, defining objectives is necessary because we must be able to assess the impact of what we do.
A public policy must also rest on knowledge. Many witnesses, from all over, told us this. European Union member countries, the United States and Australia have developed powerful knowledge tools, specifically agencies that monitor drugs and drug addictions. These monitoring agencies, most of them independent of the government and political influence, are capable of measuring changing trends and forms of use of various substances, understanding emerging trends and new products, even assessing public policies. We are unable to see how Canada can fail to develop a national knowledge tool on psychoactive substance use.
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
Information on Alcohol
Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
|Drug Information Articles|
Taking a drug test:
How To Pass A Drug Test
Beat Drug Test
Pass Drug Test
Drug Screening Tests
Drug Addiction Treatment