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The War on Drugs: History, Policy, and Therapeutics
The 12th volume of International Development Policyexplores the relationship between international drug policy and development goals, both current and within a historical perspective. Contributions address the drugs and development nexus from a range of critical viewpoints, highlighting gaps and contradictions, as well as exploring strategies and opportunities for enhanced linkages between drug control and development programming. Criminalisation and coercive law enforcement-based responses in international and national level drug control are shown to undermine peace, security and development objectives.Contributors include: Kenza Afsahi, Damon Barrett, David Bewley-Taylor, Daniel Brombacher, Julia Buxton, Mary Chinery-Hesse, John Collins, Joanne Csete, Sarah David, Ann Fordham, Corina Giacomello, Martin Jelsma, Sylvia Kay, Diederik Lohman, David Mansfield, José Ramos-Horta, Tuesday Reitano, Andrew Scheibe, Shaun Shelly, Khalid Tinasti, and Anna Versfeld.
We examine the ethical, social, and regulatory barriers that may hinder research on therapeutic potential of certain controversial controlled substances like marijuana, heroin, or ketamine. Hazards for individuals and society and potential adverse effects on communities may be good reasons for limiting access and justify careful monitoring of these substances. Overly strict regulations, fear of legal consequences, stigma associated with abuse and populations using illicit drugs, and lack of funding may, however, limit research on their considerable therapeutic potential. We review the surprisingly sparse literature and address the particular ethical concerns pertinent to research with illicit and addictive substances, such as undue inducement, informed consent, therapeutic misconception, and risk to participants, researchers, and institutions. We consider the perspectives of key research stakeholders and explore whether they may be infected with bias. We conclude by proposing an empirical research agenda to provide an evidentiary basis for ethical reasoning.