Roesmiddelen en regulering: oude wijn in nieuwe regels?

Translated title of the contribution: Pleasurable substances and regulation: old wine in new rules?

T. Decorte, D. Zaitch

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issueAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In contrast with the critical, innovative ideas developed between the 1960s and the 1980s regarding the way we deal with illegal drugs in our societies, the current dominant approaches frame the issue of drugs as a matter of crime, public order, and control. Pleasurable substances have always existed and always will, and so the efforts to cope with them. However, we witness today remarkable developments at local, national and international levels in the fields of drug policies (on cannabis for example), drug trafficking (new routes, new actors) and drug use (new substances, new drug cultures), all of which deserve our attention and push us to think beyond the repressive paradigm. This contribution, which also serves as an introduction for this special issue of ToCC on drugs, aims to present an overview of the main developments taking place, and challenges ahead, within the three above-mentioned fields. There are new markets and trends in the use of legal and illegal pleasurable substances, particularly regarding synthetic drugs (amphetamines, methamphetamines and new psychoactive substances or NPS), tobacco and alcohol. Illegal drugs are supplied from changing countries and through new routes, while retailing increasingly takes place through the so-called cryptomarkets (online). Effective policies are rendered impossible by the fundamental repression paradox: the more intensive and effective the repression, the larger the profits of drug traffickers and the balloon effects (displacement). Despite the harms and negative effects of repressive policies have extensively been documented, a societal debate towards the regulation of illegal drugs is hindered by the use of false dichotomies or presuppositions, by the use of ethical or moral appeals, or by lack of political will. Also the debate in the media is static, superficial and full of clichés. Scientific research on drugs also follows specific agendas and it is focussed on particular aspects of the problem. Changes to end the ‘war on drugs’, certainly regarding cannabis, are however underway in many places at local and national level (Uruguay, Canada, US, Spain, etc.), this despite UN bureaucracies and international conventions that fiercely resist those changes.
Translated title of the contributionPleasurable substances and regulation: old wine in new rules?
Original languageDutch
Article number1
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalTijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

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