Drug Policy and the Public Good

I’m grateful to the ever useful Drug and Alcohol Findings for pointing me towards the summary of Drug Policy and the Public Good in Addiction.

The wider point of the book is to summarise for policy makers where  research suggests they might gain benefit from adopting.  In this short piece I’m going to focus on what is said about prevention.

The authors point out that there is now evidence that the best drug prevention approaches can sustain healthier behaviours, and they say:

It is notable that these programmes do not focus exclusively or specifically on drug or alcohol use per se. Rather, their aim is to improve behaviour and social skills more generally within the family or classroom environment.

They also point out that the programmes have effects beyond changing behaviour for drugs or alcohol and that if they lead to even modest changes in behaviour prevention programmes are likely to be cost-effective.

Nevertheless, the authors end on a bit of a down beat note pointing out:

Societies tend to make a small investment in prevention and, on average, they reap a small return.

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