Smart drug policies require whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches

In Chapter 8, we stressed the importance of government leadership for whole-of- society approaches to reducing the harm done by drug use (see also Ysa et al., 2014). Chapter 9 unpacked the role of the private sector, concluding that regulation is the watchword (see also Miller et al., 2016), and Chapter 10 examined the role of civil society, with the power of knowledge becoming a driving force for civil society activism.

Whole-of-society approaches are a form of collaborative governance that emphasizes coordination through normative values and building trust among various actors in society (Kickbusch and Behrendt, 2013). The whole-of society approach goes beyond institutions, and influences and mobilizes local and global culture and mass media, as well as all relevant public and private policy sectors, such as agriculture, education, transport, media and entertainment, justice, and urban design, in reducing harmful drug use. The whole-of-government approach, sometimes called joined-up government, represents the diffusion of governance vertically across levels of government and areas of governance, as well as horizontally throughout sectors (Kickbusch and Gleicher, 2012). This approach requires building trust, a common ethic, a cohesive culture, and new skills to reduce the harm done by drugs throughout all parts of government. The approach includes cabinet committees, interministerial or interagency units, intergovernmental councils, task forces, lead agency assignments, cross-sectoral programmes and projects, and mechanisms for overseeing drug policies and convincing agencies to work together.

As we touched on in several chapters (Chapters 5-7 and 10), smart, comprehensive drug policies also need to move with technological advances and cultural changes and make use of new technologies. These can be employed in improving health literacy (e.g. with Massive Open Online Courses or interactive learning programmes), to promote self- and co-management of advice and treatment, to deliver precisely tailored advice and treatment to specific populations and contexts (e.g. timed to coincide with greater risk periods), and to extend and support engagement in policy development and monitoring (for instance, with crowd sourcing and consultation platforms).

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