Policies should be assessed for their impact on a range of societal well-being outcomes beyond physical and mental health
In Chapter 3, we brought forward the importance of assessing drug policies for their impact on a range of societal well-being outcomes beyond physical and mental health (see also Stoll and Anderson, 2015), and noted that at the international level, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s societal well-being frame is a useful benchmark (see OECD, 2011, 2015a). With a well-being frame, we found that while drug policies can reduce health harms and bring cobenefits across different sectors, they can also have adverse side effects, including criminalization and violence, and social stigma and social exclusion, which detract from individual and societal well-being. Thus, as we argued in Chapter 8 (see Ysa et al., 2014), drug policies should be based on a well-being and relational management strategy combined with a comprehensive structure that involves different stakeholders; balance decriminalization of illegal substances with innovative harm reduction policies; and effectively regulate the legal drugs, nicotine, and alcohol, and their drug delivery systems. In Chapter 3, (see Figure 3.2), we concluded that regulation of all drugs, not an unfettered free market at one extreme, or prohibition with its attendant criminalization at the other extreme, should be the central approach of all drug policies.