The variety of national drug policies
This chapter describes some of the observed policy variation and its sources, so that readers can better understand their own country's choices and how they are framed. It begins by describing the range of drug problems and policies in two very different countries, Mexico and Sweden. These illustrate the interconnections among problems, context, and policies. This is followed by a more parsimonious characterization of the variation in the problems and policies of seven nations: China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. All seven have serious drug problems that differ in nature, to which they also have responded in diverse ways. The remainder of the chapter elaborates the nature and consequences of the differences. The principal focus here is on policy variation across countries, but there is also important variation within a country. Laws are unlikely to differ much across states or municipalities, but they may be implemented in very different ways.
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