Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform

The Global Initiative promotes the development of alternative approaches to drug control in order to create more humane, cost-effective, and evidence-based policies. It achieves these aims by collecting, commissioning, and disseminating evidence to the public and governments.

The Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform brings together countries interested in reform, countries that have successfully implemented alternative drug policies.

After the launch of the Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate in 2010 (co-published by the Beckley Foundation and Oxford University press) Amanda and the two leading authors Prof. Robin Room and Prof. Peter Reuter were invited to meetings in Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. There, they engaged with senior politicians including President Cadorso of Brazil, participating in a variety of conferences and meetings to discuss the findings of the book.

It was during these trips that Amanda decided on the next Beckley Foundation initiative – the Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform. This initiative  is based on: 1) the awareness that the War on Drugs has failed, and 2) the scientific evidence that now shows health-oriented drug policies to be more cost-effective, humane, and harm-reducing than criminalisation. It was launched in November 2011 at the House of Lords in London, at a meeting hosted by the Beckley Foundation together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.

 Its specific objectives are:

  • To promote health-oriented, harm-reducing drug policies based on scientific evidence and human rights;
  • To support the rational redistribution of resources away from prohibition, criminalisation, and incarceration towards healthcare, education, and rehabilitation;
  • To reduce the human costs, violence, and corruption fuelled by the illicit drug trade and the War on Drugs, which disproportionately affect producer and transit countries;
  • To bring together country representatives and scientific and policy experts in order to discuss and evolve new policy options that address the highly complex problems arising from drug use and the illegal markets; and
  • To commission and disseminate new information; to open up and facilitate debate on all possible policy options; and to educate and inform politicians and the public.


Achievements from the Global Initiative:

  • To accompany its launch, Amanda Feilding produced the Beckley Foundation Public Letter, which was published in The Times and The Guardian, generating a great deal of publicity. Never before had such a distinguished list of world figures publicly backed the need for new drug policies. Among the signatories are former U.S. Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and major figures in politics, finance, science, law, and the arts.
  • Roadmaps to Reforming the UN Drug Conventions. This ground-breaking report, led by Prof Robin Room, was the first to carefully document the ways in which the UN Conventions can be amended in order to allow signatory countries the freedom to choose and experiment with domestic policies best suited to their individual needs.
  • Licensing and Regulation of the Cannabis Market in England and Wales: Towards a Cost/Benefit Analysis. This report, led by Prof Stephen Pudney, investigated the economic consequences of a regulated cannabis market in the UK, indicating that it could be worth as much as £1.25bn a year to the government.
  • In 2012, Amanda was invited by the Guatemalan government to visit for a private discussion on alternative drug policies. At the meeting Amanda was invited to set up the Beckley Foundation Latin American Chapter and to inform the Government about the impacts of current policies and a range of alternative policy options. This work resulted in two policy reports on violence in Guatemalan drug markets and options for alternative drug policies.
  • Roadmaps to Regulation: Cannabis, Psychedelics, MDMA, and NPS. In this report, Amanda Feilding and Nicola Singleton propose a paradigm shift in the way we consider regulation, placing the reduction of harm at the core of policy-making. The report aims to be a conversation-starter, and a tool for policy-makers as they move forward in regulating commonly used illicit drugs.
  • Roadmaps to Regulation: MDMA. This report outlines, for the first time, detailed recommendations for drug policy reform in order to better control the production, distribution, purchase, and consumption of MDMA products. It aims to highlight that the harms associated with MDMA use are predominantly related to its prohibition, and proposing an alternative regulatory model that would reduce the harms associated with criminalisation and minimise the risks to users.
  • Roadmaps to Regulation: Coca, Cocaine, and Derivatives. This report, the latest in the series, will be released later in 2021. It was written by over 30 experts across the world and represents the most robust attempt to date to open discussion on the issue of coca/cocaine regulation. It does so from a comprehensive and multidisciplinary perspective, with leading names in the relevant fields. It is a pivotal point in the difficult, yet necessary, discussion on the regulation of stimulants.

Explore the Global Initiative's Achievements